Paris Saint-Germain defender Dani Alves has praised Neymar following his impressive debut against Guingamp over the weekend. The Brazil international assisted Edinson Cavani for the second goal of the game while also getting on the scoresheet to complete the 3-0 rout.
Neymar had received widespread criticism for making his switch to Les Parisiens earlier this month after the club paid up a world-record £198m fee to sign him from Barcelona. He has since adapted to his new surrounding fantastically with a goal and assist on his debut, and Alves insists that his compatriot is different from other big-name signings due to his desire to help his teammates out.
“I believe he showed why PSG wanted to sign him (Neymar), to be decisive as he was and help our team achieve good results. He performed well, and all of us had great expectations about this match too. We wanted him to have his debut and help us, and no doubt we're stronger with him now. A player cannot rely only on his name to make a difference, but also has to work hard and make things happen on the pitch. And that's Neymar's differential, he's not only a global name, he deserves his greatness,” he told The Mail.
Neymar had played second fiddle to Lionel Messi during his four-year stint at Barcelona, and this pushed him for a fresh challenge in Paris, where he would be considered as the main orchestrator of the attack. The Ballon d'Or is likely to be won by one of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi for the 10th successive season this year, and Neymar is said to have one eye on the trophy following his switch to the French Ligue 1, with the NetBet Sportsbook now making him the third favourite for the award in 2018.
Paris Saint-Germain have failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the Champions League in recent seasons, but the signing of Neymar will put more pressure on Unai Emery to reach at least the final four of the competition.
Whilst things have been going great for Neymar and Alves, fellow countryman Gabriel Paulista is facing a fresh start back in La Liga. Arsenal confirmed the departure of defender Gabriel Paulista to Spanish club Valencia following a two-and-a-half-year spell at the Emirates. The Brazilian footballer has signed for the La Liga outfit on a five-year deal after the Gunners agreed on a fee of just around £10 m for his services.
Gabriel managed 64 appearances across all competitions during his Gunners stay, but his performances were often error prone with Arsene Wenger citing the lack of communication as the major reason. The 26-year-old largely played second fiddle to the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi in the central defensive department last term, while he was also used as an occasional right-back during Hector Bellerin's injury absence.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had stressed the need to offload some of his fringe players during the summer, and the club have corresponded to his request with the sale of Gabriel. "We would like to thank Gabriel for his contribution to the club and to wish him well for his return to La Liga with Valencia," a statement on the club's official website read.
Meanwhile, Los Che also confirmed the deal on their behalf with the Brazilian having put pen to paper on a five-year contract lasting until the summer of 2022. "Valencia Club de Fútbol has reached an agreement with Arsenal FC for the transfer of the federative rights of the player Gabriel Paulista. The Brazilian player has been linked to the Valencian entity for the next 5 seasons, until June 30, 2022, with a termination clause of 80 million euros," Los Che announced on their official website.
Gabriel's time at the Emirates was hampered by his inability to speak English and this led to the indecision on the playing field. Despite this, the Brazilian stood out with his performance in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City last season, where his aerial composure and tough tackling abilities were applauded by the club's faithful. He could not make the final at Wembley in May last year after he sustained a gruesome knee injury in the final league outing versus Everton.