Trophy des Champions: Messi, Neymar, Ramos on target as PSG beat Nantes

Paris Saint-Germain secured their first piece of silverware of the 2022-23 season after defeating FC Nantes 4-0 in Tel Aviv on Sunday to clinch the Trophy des Champions. Lionel Messi, Neymar (two) and Sergio Ramos all scored as Christophe Gaultier made his competitive debut as the French giants’ new boss. Kylian Mbappe was suspended at the end of last campaign, but PSG did not miss their French superstar at the Bloomfield Stadium.

Messi opened the scoring after 22 minutes when he took the ball around Alban Lafont before firing home and Neymar doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time with a superb free-kick. Ramos got in on the act just before the hour mark and then Gaultier made some personnel changes towards the final 20 minutes before Neymar completed the scoring with a penalty that also saw Jean-Charles Castelletto sent off.

Nordi Mukiele made his debut from the bench although Hugo Ekitike has yet to characterize that he is not ready to feature here. The victory completes Les Parisiens’ pre-season preparations, and the new term begins next week in Clermont. Here’s what we know about this new-look PSG so far.

Neymar and Messi motivation

Perhaps it’s just down to the fact that it’s a FIFA World Cup year, but the superstar duo of Brazil and Argentina certainly looked like they were ready to head to Israel. Both have generally looked good in PSG’s friendlies so far and the focus of both in the early days under Gaultier bodes well for the season ahead. Messi’s debut campaign was largely impressive while Neymar has never consistently delivered in Paris, so both could always be closer to what is expected of him at the Parc des Princes this year.

“It was a good game and we played well,” Neymar said after the final whistle. “We really have to congratulate the whole team. People talk a lot without knowing what’s going on inside the club. We see Messi every day being Messi. He won’t change and will always be a difference maker. “I hope we stay like this for the season and that everything goes well for Leo, Kylan and I. If the three of us are good, PSG will be good.”

Ramos has a role.

If Messi had a difficult first term in the French capital, Ramos was a nightmare, and it didn’t look like he had much of a future. However, the veteran Spaniard has emerged as a likely starter for Gaultier – at least until debutant Nordi Mukelli is put to bed and there is some resolution in the club’s pursuit of the Milan scrion. Between them, Neymar, Messi, and Ramos bring great experience to this reshaping PSG side and while they may not be indispensable as the season progresses, there are few stronger leadership figures in the game than Ramos. are present.

“I feel very happy after a difficult first season,” Ramos said after the match. “I finished the campaign well and I wanted to play. Gradually I found my best level. I felt good from there. That’s what you want to start the season with. We play a new system at the back. Have been and Marcoinos Presnel, and I need to work together. We’ll continue with our movement, timing and depth. It’s a solid system though.”

3-4-1-2 Here to stay?

Gaultier has long made it clear that he supports the system he inherited from predecessor Mauricio Pochettino for the group of players and has not deviated from it so far. There is a bank of three defenders in Ramos, Marquinhos and Presnel Kampembe, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes, with Vitanha on either flank and Marco Verratti in the middle. Ahead of them, either Messi or Neymar can play in the hole and Pablo Sarabia has stepped up in Mbappe’s absence in Tel Aviv. New signings or departures between now and the end of the transfer window could change things, but it looks like there will be a huge change in form as Gini Wijnaldum and Idrissa Gueye are expected to depart soon.