Former Super Eagles skipper, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has confessed that he envy world record signing Neymar and other PSG players.
Paris Saint-Germain made Okocha the most expensive African footballer on the planet 17 years ago.
He cost the French club $19 million. In August of this year, PSG paid a world-record fee of $267 million to release Neymar from his Barcelona contract and, according to documents recently exposed by Football Leaks and German media outlet Der Spiegel, they are paying the 25-year-old Brazilian $118,000 a day.
“I am jealous of the players now,” Okocha told CNN. “But it’s always good to know you were amongst the best during your time and that’s all you can hope for.
” “I don’t look at what the market is today because that was our mission — to get football to another level — to open doors for the next generation. It gives me a lot of joy to see where football is now.
” Neymar has made an impressive start to his PSG career with fi ve goals and fi ve assists in his opening seven games, but his integration into the dressing room hasn’t been quite as smooth.
Th e Brazilian and teammate Edinson Cavani argued publicly on the pitch over who should take a penalty in this month’s 2-0 win over Lyon and reportedly the Uruguayan international shouted “do you really think you’re Messi!?” when he fi rst walked into the changing room.
PSG has also been forced to deny claims that club president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi , off ered Cavani a $1.2 million bonus to hand over the penalty-taking duties to Neymar.
“It’s a team sport but every player’s ego will kick in at a certain point,” says Okocha who played 84 games and scored 12 goals for PSG after moving from Turkish club Fenerbahçe. “Cavani has been taking penalties but I think it’s negotiable. I see it as a healthy competition.
It will be easily sorted out in the dressing room. Th ey will talk about it. It happens every week but behind the scenes.
“I’d be lying if I said I never had any issues with players but at some point you have to stamp your authority because if you’re good at taking free-kicks, for example, they should let you take them,” added Okocha, who himself was something of a free-kick specialist.
Okocha spent four years at the Parc des Princes and helped mentor another famous Brazilian, Ronaldinho.
He insists that, if he was still at PSG, he would not be intimidated by the size of Neymar’s transfer fee — in fact, he would relish the opportunity to play alongside him.
“Th e price tag shouldn’t be my business,” the 44-year-old says.
“It would be an honor to be in the same dressing room as a player like that.
“It would be in my interest to have great players around me because, if you’re playing with good players, it makes your job a lot easier.