Over the holiday break, we saw images of Neymar Jr. having fun and relaxing with friends and family. It was a much-deserved vacation for the Brazilian who has been nothing short of incredible for Paris Saint-Germain this season.
Following a tumultuous summer, Neymar has put aside everything that happened during the transfer window and has focused on football while remaining professional off the pitch when speaking to the media.
In a fascinating new article from L’Equipe, journalist José Barroso chronicles Neymar’s redemption tour. From being jeered at the Parc des Princes by PSG supporters to scoring crucial goals throughout the season, Neymar has slowly started to win back those who doubted him by giving his all for the club.
The juiciest part of the article comes when a relative, who asked to remain anonymous, discussed why Neymar wanted to leave PSG in the first place and what the club needs to do in order to keep him.
“One of the many reasons for his [Neymar’s] initial desires [to leave] is that he needs to feel that he can gain great things. However, after the defeat against Manchester United, he had the feeling that the chances of winning the Champions League with PSG were close to zero.”
As you likely recall, Neymar was injured for the return leg against Manchester United at the Parc des Princes and watched from the sideline as his team lost 3-1 in spectacular fashion to crash out of the Champions League.
If that lost convinced Neymar to leave, it’s clear what PSG needs to do to keep the 27-year-old from leaving next summer.
“Today, Neymar has the feeling that this team can change that. He has developed a great bond with Mbappé and he is fully involved. Together, they know they can destroy any opponent. If they have a great season, if they go far in the Champions League, there is a good chance that he will want to stay.”
It’s that simple and you can likely apply the same requirement to Kylian Mbappé who is being courted by Real Madrid almost daily. PSG can pay these two players any salary they want but they clearly want to win—or at least be very competitive—the Champions League more than anything.
That’s what makes this season so vital for PSG. If Thomas Tuchel cannot lead this team past Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16 and likely through another team to reach the semi-finals, the club could be facing the very real possibility of both Mbappé and Neymar handing in a transfer request this summer.
No pressure at all…
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.