Against Toulouse this Sunday, Neymar will, for the first time, play at the Parc des Princes wearing Paris Saint-Germain’s colours. Before him, many players became idols of the PSG fans, in part because of great starts at the capital venue. Here are five examples.
RAI : PSG-Montpellier : 1-0 (11/09/1993)
With 215 matches and 72 goals, Rai spent five years at PSG between 1993 and 1998, becoming a legend of the Parc des Princes. On this evening in September 1993, only a matter of weeks after rivals Marseille had won the Champions League, Rai made his much-anticipated debut after arriving from Sao Paulo. He joined two other Brazilians, Valdo and Ricardo, at the club. He was the star recruit of the summer, and he made an immediate mark by scoring the winning goal for PSG against Montpellier. But more than the goal from the No.10, it was a rabona that really amazed the home fans.
Credit : PSG TV
RONALDINHO : PSG-Sochaux : 1-0 (11/08/2001)
Ronaldinho’s career at Paris Saint-Germain was probably not as great as it could have been – especially knowing the success that the Brazilian had after he left for Barcelona in 2003. He played two years at PSG. He could have had six months more if there had been no conflict with Gremio, the club from which he was signed, who held the deal up in January 2001. Like Neymar, Ronaldinho first wore the PSG strip away from home. It was in Auxerre, on August 4, 2001, where he made his debut in a 1-1 draw. The future Ballon d’Or winner would start a week later at the Parc des Princes against Sochaux in a 1-0 victory. It was the birth of a new star in Paris.
Credit : Christian Gavelle / PSG
GEORGE WEAH : PSG-Dortmund : 3-1 (26/07/1992)
To this day, George Weah is the only PSG player to win the Ballon d’Or for a season in which he played in the French capital. In 1995, Weah played six months at Paris before moving to AC Milan and taking the most prestigious of all the individual prizes only a few months later. Three years earlier, the Liberian discovered the Parc des Princes in a friendly tournament that no longer exists: the Tournoi de Paris. Only three days after having signed from Monaco, Weah scored with a tremendous shot from range against Borussia Dortmund. PSG won 3-1 in front of 18,000 fans.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC : PSG-Lorient : 2-2 (11/08/2012)
For Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s first match at the Parc des Princes, PSG flirted with humiliation. His arrival caused an earthquake in 2012, but to lose his first match in Ligue 1 in front of the footballing world would have been tough. But happily for PSG, the Swede came to their rescue and can savour August 11 as he scored a double, including an equaliser in the 89th minute to snatch a point against Lorient, who had led 2-0 at the break. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marco Verratti also debuted that day.
EDINSON CAVANI : PSG-AC Ajaccio 1-1 (18/08/2013)
A year after Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani made his switch to PSG. Like his team-mate, the Uruguayan failed to win in his first Parc des Princes outing. Guillermo Ochoa frustrated the PSG forwards, who only managed to score once from an incredible 39 shots – against only one for the Corsicans, who snatched a 1-1 draw. Like the Swede a year earlier, it was the debutant who secured a point by scoring late in the encounter.