PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar will be crucial to the development of fellow new recruit Kylian Mbappe, the club’s vice-captain Marquinhos has told AFP.
Marquinhos also said he believes Neymar will do more to bring glory to the Qatar-owned Paris club than its former Brazilian number 10 Ronaldinho.
Marquinhos and Neymar were on the same gold medal-winning Brazil team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the defender believes the striker’s leadership skills will be an important factor as the club go in search of titles this season.
“He’s a wonderful player. When it’s a big game that’s when he shows the most character, the best attitude,” Marquinhos said of the 25-year-old Brazilian who joined PSG for a world-record 222 million euros ($261.5 million) in the close season.
“He likes to take charge of things and he loves a boiling atmosphere,” Marquinhos said.
That approach will be tested on Sunday when PSG travel to Marseille for a Ligue 1 grudge match with the capital outfit sitting top on 25 points and OM third on 17.
“I know Neymar well and know he loves this kind of game,” said Marquinhos.
The 23-year-old defender, who is in his fifth season at PSG and has played over 20 times for Brazil, says Neymar’s role as mentor to the 18-year-old Mbappe will help to shape the French international striker’s game.
“Neymar knows how important he is for Kylian, as Messi was important for him, as Ronaldinho was important for Messi.
“Kylian is an adorable guy, and the two of them hit it off straight away,” said Marquinhos.
“Even if they don’t speak the same language, on the pitch you can see how well they get on.
“Both of them are capable (of winning the Ballon d’Or). The main thing is that it’s magnificent to have the pair of them here,” said Marquinhos.
Ronaldinho, the Brazilian superstar of his time, lit up the Parc des Princes from 2001 to 2003.
“I hope he’ll do even more than Ronaldinho because he’s a wonderful player and he always wants to stand up and be counted on the pitch,” Marquinhos said.
PSG recruited Mbappe from Monaco just before the summer transfer deadline on an initial loan deal which is set to be made into a permanent move next year for 180 million euros