You know what? I wasn’t the biggest fan of Leandro Paredes when Paris Saint-Germain signed him in 2019 from FC Zenit Saint Petersburg but I’m quickly warming up to him.
We’ve previously talked about how Paredes has become Neymar Jr.’s unofficial bodyguard when the two are on the pitch together and that relationship has continued to blossom off of the pitch.
In an interview with Fox Argentina (via Goal), Paredes confirmed that the two speak frequently and that he’s not concerned at all about the rumors of Neymar’s return to FC Barcelona.
“We talk a lot, he calls me all the time. I’m calm, he’ll stay with us.”
As a PSG supporter, I’m also calm that Neymar will stay in the French capital for another season. There’s just no way Barcelona can afford him at the moment.
With months until PSG will be back in action again, I expect Leonardo, PSG’s sporting director, to try and convince Neymar to sign a lucrative contract extension.
The Neymar nugget was the most interesting part of Paredes’ interview but he also shared who he believes is the best midfielder in the world.
“I think it’s Verratti. It’s impossible to take the ball off him and he’s very aggressive.”
There’s no question that Verratti is elite but I would say that sometimes, he’s over-aggressive to the point where it’s detrimental to the club, like what we saw in the first leg against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League when he received a yellow card and was suspended for the second leg.
Speaking of the Champions League, Paredes also spoke about how PSG had to change their mentality to be successful in the competition.
“I think we’re changing the mentality of the club, as we saw in the second leg against Borussia Dortmund.”
“The mentality is different in the league than in the Champions League. In Europe, you cannot relax for a single second, while the level of Ligue 1 can allow you to do that.”
“The superior quality of our players means that we can always win in the end. If we change our mentality in the Champions League with the same players, the same team, the will to win will make us victorious.”
PSG reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League with the win over Dortmund but they’ll have to wait until August to see if they can win their first title in club history.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.