French Ligue 1, Leagues, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story, UEFA Champions League

PSG head coach Unai Emery says Neymar has provided a positive boost to the team on and off the pitch.
After another impressive match, Jonathan Johnson reflects on the excitement and dynamism Neymar has brought to PSG.
Unai Emery pledges to help Neymar become the best player in the world at PSG.

PARIS — Unai Emery has said he wants Paris Saint-Germain to become “one of the best teams in the world” and win the Champions League.

PSG, who boast Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, in their ranks, will learn their Champions League group stage opponents on Thursday.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Friday’s Ligue 1 game against St Etienne, Emery said: “The Champions League is a very important objective to this club.

“Ligue 1, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Coupe de France are equally so. We are all motivated for this year across all competitions, but particularly the Champions League.

“PSG are a major club. We are going to be tested and that is normal. It is important for the club, for me and for the players. Our objective is to be one of the best teams in the world.”

Neymar made his debut in the 3-0 win at Guingamp a fortnight ago, scoring one goal and making another.

In his first home appearance, against Toulouse, he then scored twice and laid on two more in a 6-2 win.

Emery said: “Neymar’s arrival has been nothing but positive and the future of this team with him in it is good.

“Everybody at the club is very pleased to be able to boast Neymar in this team.

“I want a team that can win the ball and destabilise our opponents at any time. Neymar helps us in this respect and in many others.”

Another of PSG’s star names, Marco Verratti, misses the visit of St Etienne after being sent off for two bookable offences against Toulouse.

But Emery praised the Italy international’s playing style and described him as a “special” talent, adding: “He plays the way he lives — with plenty of emotion and a competitive spirit — and I love that.

“However, there must be a balance. He must channel his emotions, but this is not a problem. He is already aware of this and will improve on this aspect of his game.”

Emery also confirmed that he would be without the injured Lucas Moura on Friday amid transfer speculation linking him with a move to Monaco.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.

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