(Reuters) – Brazilian forward Neymar is an “artist” and Paris St Germain need to build their team around the 26-year-old if they are to get the best out of him, the Ligue 1 club’s new manager Thomas Tuchel has said.
Neymar joined the French champions from Barcelona for a record 222 million euros (194 million pounds) last August but media reports have already linked him with a move back to Spain with Real Madrid.
“I met Neymar last Sunday. It was an important meeting. He’s an artist, one of the best players in the world, a key player to help us win our matches,” said Tuchel, who last week signed a two-year deal to replace Unai Emery.
“If we find a way to build a structure around him, so he can show all his talent on the pitch, I think we have a key player to win our games.”
Neymar has been out of action since fracturing the fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Feb. 25 and undergoing surgery in Brazil.
He was, however, named in the Brazil squad for the June 14-July 15 World Cup finals in Russia.
“I met a very friendly, very open guy for the first time,” German Tuchel added.
“We started talking about soccer and I saw a smile on his face and that is what I want to see.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)