Whether they will admit it or not, all footballers are concerned with their legacy once they step away from the game. For superstars, how they are remembered is what cements their legacy at a club and for their national team.
Neymar Jr. is no different. From his charity work in his native Brazil to the fact that he left FC Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain to escape Lionel Messi’s shadow, the 29-year-old has been laying the groundwork for his legacy for years now.
With a contract extension on the horizon, you could use your bonus on Netbet to wager that Neymar will spend more time at PSG than any other club (four years at Barcelona, four years at Santos FC). But time at a club isn’t all that’s necessary to forge a legacy.
For Neymar to go down in the history books and remembered primarily as a PSG player, he needs to win the UEFA Champions League trophy, something no other player in PSG’s history has been able to do. He’s won it before with Barcelona, but that club has five titles to its name. Winning the most prestigious trophy in club football for a French club for the first time would be infinitely more impressive than anything he accomplished at Barcelona.
Neymar was able to lead PSG to the Champions League final last season against FC Bayern Munich but ultimately came up short as the Germans escaped with a 1-0 victory.
Neymar has carried that heartbreak into this season and now has PSG in its second-consecutive semi-final appearance with Manchester City now standing in his way. It’s not if Neymar and PSG win a Champions League title, it’s when, and when it happens, Neymar’s legacy at PSG will be fully realized.
It’s a dramatic turn of events if you look back to just a couple of years ago when it appeared as though Neymar was unhappy in France and all reports indicated that he wanted to return to Barcelona.
Fortunately, the La Liga side was unable to afford Neymar and PSG was uninterested in selling, so the Brazil international remained in Paris and now, PSG is on the cusp of back-to-back Champions League final appearances while Barcelona is in serious financial turmoil and risk losing Messi on a free transfer.
Yes, things have worked out well for Neymar since then, but it hasn’t been easy. He’s battled numerous injuries and constant media criticism, but it will all be worth it if he can win the Champions League and go down as a PSG legend.
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