There was plenty of soccer goodness to enjoy from the first full weekend of action from all of the top leagues in Europe.
It’s kind of a weird period of time as teams still have up until the August 31st transfer deadline to fortify their squads for the upcoming season so some players and squads are sort of still in limbo.
Teams like Barcelona still have some business to take care of before that deadline, but time is running out for the Catalonian side to find a replacement(s) for Neymar.
As for that departed Brazilian, he once again stole the headlines with a ridiculous display in his home debut against Toulouse.
Here are the biggest takeaways from a full week of footy action.
Neymar is wilin’
So yeah, we are entering the Era of Neymar.
Some soccer personalities and Barcelona fans were quick to criticize Neymar’s move to Paris claiming he was leaving the best team in the world for money.
Even I was slightly confused at the time, but after seeing Neymar play for PSG as the star, it’s clear why the Brazilian made his move.
He did thispic.twitter.com/r4MOYLQUkO
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) August 20, 2017
He’s playing with total freedom as every attack goes through him. Neymar is no longer in Messi’s shadow, having to defer to the Argentinian, he is now the leader of a PSG side loaded with talent.
Edinson Cavani is criminally underrated, Angel Di Maria is still a stud, Marco Veratti, Adrien Rabiot, and Thiago Motta is one of the most sterling center midfield trios in world soccer, and a defense of Thiago Silva, Presnel Kimpembe, Dani Alves, and Layvin Kurzawa is both sturdy defensively and terrifying in attack.
When you take a look at the PSG squad, you can see why Neymar found the idea of joining so attractive.
Conversely, the Barcelona team looks old and stale.
Anyways, Neymar is out here rainbowing dudes mid-game and scoring goals like this…
And then he did thispic.twitter.com/Rp6kdtHhFQ
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) August 20, 2017
The best bit was this corner… pic.twitter.com/AvA6EajLeX
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) August 20, 2017
Neymar scored two goals and assisted two more in his second game in Paris.
Granted, he’s playing in the French league, which isn’t the most competitive league in the world, but Toulouse is a decent side stacked with young talent.
The real test for PSG will come in the Champions League, which is ultimately the reason they spent $265 million on Neymar.
Judging off the start to the season, Neymar and co. are ready for the challenge.
This American kid Christian Pulisic is real
Hershey, Pennsylvania native Christian Pulisic is 18 years old and he might already be the best American ever.
I know this sounds kind of crazy, but he can do stuff that no American player ever did at this level.
Pulisic scored against Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup earlier in August and then scored one and assisted another in Dortmund’s opening weekend match in the Bundesliga.
That goal is, as the announcer calls it, “world class.”
AHHHHHH PULISIC HES THE BEST AMERICAN EVER OMG OMG OMG
— Fear The Wall (@FearTheWall) August 19, 2017
Pulisic then found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the box with a perfectly-timed cross to ice the game for Dortmund against Wolfsburg.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 19, 2017
Dortmund are one of the most exciting attacking teams in Europe and Pulisic is starting consistently for the German side.
With French wonderkid Ousmane Dembele maybe off to Barcelona, Pulisic will have more opportunity to shine.
Christian Pulisic, who doesn’t even turn 19 until September, is one of the most exciting young prospects in all of world soccer right now.
He’s the player American soccer fans have been waiting for.
Real Madrid are cruising
Fresh off their 3-1 victory against Barcelona in the Supercopa first leg, Madrid polished off the Blaugrana in a decisive 2-0 victory at home.
Marco Asensio scored in the 4th minute to pretty much seal the tie.
Asensio goal can make any goal keeper feel weak. Real Madrid vs Barcapic.twitter.com/LGLqw5SV7y
— SunKanMi (@SmilesParker) August 16, 2017
Fresh off his goal in the first leg, Marco Asensio looks ready to take the leap from good young player to someone who can singlehandedly win a game.
Real Madrid are so stacked with talent, it will give Zinedine Zidane headaches picking his starting 11.
I mean, Marco Asensio scored that goal and then was a substitute during their game at the weekend, which they won 3-0 against Deportivo La Coruna.
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t even available right now after his red card against Barca last weekend.
Real Madrid look poised to dominate again this season. And with a stable of young talent ready to take over in the Spanish capital, they may run this shit for years.
Manchester United back?
Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired back in 2013, Manchester United have had some trouble regaining their famous edge.
Three managers and half a billion dollars spent later, Manchester United seem to have returned to form.
It’s too early to draw too many conclusions, but two 4-0 victories against West Ham and Swansea have United looking like the class side in England so far.
New striker Romelu Lukaku is settling in quite well with three goals in two games, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back to his creative best after struggling in his first season in England, and Paul Pogba is influencing games like he’s supposed to.
Time will tell if United can replicate their performances against better opposition (West Ham and Swansea could be in real trouble this season) but the early returns are looking pretty damn promising for the Red Devils.