Arrived at PSG to get out of Messi’s shadow, and Neymar has a unique opportunity to include his name in Parisian and football books.
When he enters the lawn at the Estadio da Luz, Neymar will surely think about the choice made in the summer of 2017 to leave his Barcelona life for the City of Light where he wanted to shine. Because if he was the main actor in the infamous Barça comeback, Neymar also saw what he needed to join the top of world football. No matter how much he wins one, two or five big cups with Blaugrana, he will always remain in Messi’s shadow.
Age of maturity?
It is this goal to free himself from Pulga that drove him to join PSG, also in search of greatness after the humiliation received at Camp Nou a few months earlier. The collaboration had something to dream about, it has long looked like a nightmare.
Between injuries at the wrong times, quarrels with some teammates or Leonardo and spleen from his Barcelona years, Neymar has never really put on this conductor suit he wanted so much. He even saw Kylian Mbappé challenge him for this star status at PSG.
But on Sunday, all eyes will be on Auriverde. Because this final against Bayern Munich must be his as he has shown since the start of the final 8. In three seasons, the Brazilian has never seemed so prosperous in the Parisian collective. There have been lightnings since 2017, but in Lisbon, Neymar, like the entire workforce, is on assignment.
An obligation to win to truly assert yourself?
If for a long time he was one of the elements in the gap between the Brazilians and the rest of the group, he is today the central element in this federation. Of the realism of two matches, he is still the detonator of all Parisian actions. He rediscovered the spark that had seduced all of Europe when he came from Santos.
“Winning the Champions League is something very special, I know that, he assured in an interview with the Daily Star ahead of the big meeting. But winning it with PSG would be historic, and that’s exactly what I came here to do. “
As a 27-year-old, Neymar seems to have finally matured, as evidenced by his latest statements or about his entourage. Above all, he seems to have found the perfect balance between the carefree character in his game and this leadership role that he has come to seek in Paris. Even PSG staff have realized this transformation.
“Neymar has been really good. In recent months he has changed in the team. He has become a leader”, Said Nasser Al-Khelaïfi at RMC Sport after the match against Atalanta.
On Sunday, against Bayern Munich, he will be the only Parisian with Navas and Di Maria who has already tasted a Champions League final and won it. The only one who played in important finals such as the Copa America or the Olympic Games. He knows these dates and is used to shining there. It is therefore up to him to show his own people the way. When Barcelona is thrown into chaos, Neymar finally shines in his Parisian colors. As a symbol … It now remains to win to secure its future legitimacy.