The tide has turned for Neymar in Paris. This spells big trouble for the rest of this year's Champions League contenders.
A happy Neymar is a dangerous thing. At least for the other teams that are left in this year’s Champions League.
With there being no serious competition in the French domestic league, success in Paris is only measured against Champions League glory. This could be the year where that finally happens.
“Something has changed,” said coach Thomas Tuchel [Marca] after PSG’s most recent win over Lille. Neymar scored two goals in the game, taking his tally for the season to 13.
His effort now is fantastic. I’m convinced that he wants to keep this up.
Neymar’s figures when he lines up for PSG are frightening, far outperforming those from his time in Spain.
This season, Neymar has played 13 games in Ligue 1 and scored 13 goals [Transfermrkt]. He has also provided 5 assists. With 4 more goals in the Champions League and the French Cup, the player is certainly doing his best to make up for all of the games he has missed through injury.
In the 50 games he has played in Ligue 1 for PSG, Neymar is averaging 0.94 goals per game. This is significantly better than the 0.55 he averaged in 123 games for Barcelona.
Of course, the La Liga is more competitive than Ligue 1 but the player can only take care of what is in front of him.
Neymar’s public remarks on wanting to leave PSG in the summer of 2019 infuriated supporters of the club [BBC]. Boos and offensive chants greeted his reappearance to the team and it seemed that both parties were only going through the motions until an inevitable exit.
Since Neymar’s turnaround, the PSG fans are now a lot less vocal in their condemnation of him. It may still be too soon to completely forgive and forget, but things are getting back on track.
A front four of Neymar, Mbappe, Icardi, and DiMaria is a scary prospect for any opposition. PSG’s primary failing is that its results on the pitch haven’t been greater than the sum of their individual parts.
This season could be different. Neymar is often pictured out on the town with French superstar Kylian Mbappe. And long gone are the days when pushing matches took place over who was taking a penalty.
With an expensively assembled team all playing for each other under a coach known for his tactical acumen, PSG is one of the serious favorites for this season’s Champions League.
With ongoing reports suggesting that Mbappe will one day leave for Real Madrid, perhaps Neymar is realizing that being King of Paris isn’t that bad of a proposition after all.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: February 1, 2020 8:14 AM UTC