PARIS – Neymar is poised to make his much-anticipated debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday when they travel to Guingamp in their second game of the Ligue 1 season.
However, the French league are still waiting on a transfer certificate from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) before the Brazilian can finally play.
The certificate has to arrive before Sunday if Neymar is to take to the pitch at the Stade du Roudourou this weekend, with it possible that Fifa may have to intervene if the RFEF do not send the document by Friday.
But the French Football Federation (FFF) appear confident that the saga surrounding Neymar, who cost PSG a staggering world record €222 million (about R3.53 billion), is near its end.
“The transfer is complete, so this should not last,” FFF president Noel le Graet told sports daily L’Equipe. “The federation is in contact with our Spanish counterparts. There is no reason for this hold-up to continue.
“These are complicated deals, but there is no missing document today. I do not need to tell you that there are a few problems within the Spanish federation. I do not doubt that this will be quickly solved. Wolves do not eat each other, you know.”
Neymar watched from the Parc des Princes stands as PSG cruised to a low-key 2-0 win over newly-promoted Amiens in their Ligue 1 opener last time out, and coach Unai Emery will want the forward available sooner rather than later.
The 25-year-old scored 105 goals in his four seasons at Barcelona, and his new team will be expecting him to score far more over the next few years.
Although the main goal for the capital club is to finally challenge for the Champions League crown, their first task this term will be to retake the Ligue 1 title from Monaco.
Spaniard Emery has no doubt that his new arrival will help the team achieve those lofty goals, whether he makes his debut on Sunday or the following week against Toulouse.
“He’s a player who will help the club get to a higher level,” he said. “Without Neymar, PSG is a great club, but with Neymar, it’s a little better.
“The way we will adapt being close to a player like him... The other players here are also some great players, so together we can get better and grow.”
Once again, PSG’s main rivals for domestic honours appear to be Monaco, who are desperately trying to hang on to rising star Kylian Mbappé in the face of serious interest from Real Madrid.
The 18-year-old started in their opening 3-2 victory over Toulouse last weekend, as captain Radamel Falcao found the net.
Leonardo Jardim’s principality outfit will be expecting to make it two wins from two when they pay a visit to Dijon on Sunday.
Nice, who have the first leg of their Champions League playoff against Napoli on Wednesday, kick off the second weekend at home to promoted Troyes on Friday without their two star players, the injured Mario Balotelli and new signing Wesley Sneijder.
Lyon’s youthful side started with a 4-0 thumping of Strasbourg last week, and travel out to Brittany to take on Rennes on Friday.