Brazil star Neymar struck twice on Sunday night during Paris Saint-Germain’s 4-0 romp past Nantes to lift the Trophée des Champions – the curtain raiser to the French Ligue 1 season between the champions and the Coupe de France winners.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos were also on the scoresheet for PSG in the match played in Tel Aviv.
Mauricio Pochettino led PSG to a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 crown in May. But the Argentine was dismissed and replaced with Christophe Galtier in early July.
During his unveiling, the former Lille and Nice boss warned that moody and unresponsive players would be sacrificed or sidelined if they failed to the ethic of the team.
The comments were interpreted as a shot across the bows for Neymar and Messi who were both deemed to have underperformed during PSG’s matches in the Champions League.
Messi opened the scoring mid way through the first -half after latching on to a through ball from Neymar.
Neymar then stroked home a sumptuous free-kick from 22 metres in first-half stoppage to double the score.
Twelve minutes into the second-half, Ramos – signed on a free transfer in July 2021 and injured for the majority of last season – scored with a cheeky back heel after Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont saved Pablo Sarabia’s shot.
And Neymar added the gloss eight minutes from time from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the area by Jean-Charles Castelletto who was dismissed for the infringement.
“We played a very serious game,” Galtier told Prime Video. “We expected a difficult match and the fact that the players approached it with a lot of desire, determination and seriousness helped us to win.”
It was Galtier’s first piece of silverware since he led Lille to the 2021 Ligue 1 title.
“We talk about stars, but they are above all players who want to win titles and trophies,” Galtier added.
“You have to go with them. But obviously with these world-class players, things are made much easier.”
PSG start the defence of their title at Clermont on 6 August while Nantes play at Angers on 7 August.
“It’s fairly clear that this isn’t the same PSG that we beat last season,” said Nantes boss Antoine Kombouaré.
“When they lose the ball, they’re capable of pressing high up the field. They’re energetic. They seem to be enjoying themselves and they’re efficient.”
Kombouaré, who led Nantes to their first Coupe de France victory for 22 years last May, said his players would have to shake off the heavy defeat before the start of the season.
“The only good thing about the game is that we didn’t lose any points. Things start for real next Sunday at Angers. And it’s there where we’ll see how good our preparation for the new season has been.”