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Neymar, Messi secure Champions Trophy for PSG on Galtier debut

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TEL AVIV: Neymar scored twice with Lionel Messi also on target as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Nantes 4-0 in the Champions Trophy in Tel Aviv on Sunday in new coach Christophe Galtier’s first match in charge.


After an underwhelming first season in French football, Messi struck 22 minutes into the traditional curtain-raiser, being played in Israel for the second year in a row.


Neymar, whose future at the club has been the source of much speculation this summer, doubled the lead just before the break with a magnificent free-kick.


Sergio Ramos added a third and Neymar bagged his second late on from the penalty spot as PSG, the reigning Ligue 1 champions, eased to victory over last season’s French Cup winners.


“It was a good match. There was a trophy on the line so we wanted to win it,” Neymar told Prime Video, drowning out rumours of his potential departure.


“If Kylian (Mbappe), Leo and myself are happy, PSG will do well,” he added. “I hope this season all three of us will stay and it will go well.”


It is the ninth time in 10 seasons PSG have lifted the Champions Trophy. They lost 1-0 to Lille at the same venue a year ago.


PSG begin their quest for a record 11th French league title away to Clermont on August 6.


Galtier became PSG’s seventh different manager since the Qatari takeover of 2011 when he was appointed on a two-year deal in early July as the replacement for Mauricio Pochettino.


Mbappe suspended


The club won a protracted battle with Real Madrid in May to convince Kylian Mbappe to stay, but Galtier was without the France star for his first official match due to suspension. — AFP


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