PSG: Neymar’s moment of reckoning in Champions League



When dreams collide with reality; When life reaches a difficult crossroads; When we must decide whether to make history or not.

right now Neymar is at the crossroads

A The football brand of the 21st century Fueled by endless promise; A neo-rich social, commercial and cultural phenomenon; A superstar who is no stranger to the scrutiny of the public eye.

Yet when it comes to the bright lights of European football’s biggest stage – The Champions League – He is stuck in a perpetual cycle of repetition.

A Once victoriousYes – but to some his most accomplished South American counterparts – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – were once famous. ‘MSN’ Trio at Barcelona.

on the Two opportunities Bad luck has conspired to end the Brazilian entrepreneurs’ chances of taking over the competition by rubbing necks in the red and blue of Paris Saint-Germain.

So here we are in 2020. Is it third time lucky? Is this Neymar’s moment of truth?

The three games now stand between the ‘red pill’ of European knowledge or the ‘blue pill’ of another footnote in the 28-year-old’s lengthy Wikipedia page.

“This is the year he can really redeem himself […] These three games could change everything […] I don’t believe he will get another chance like this,” explained Brazilian football journalist Fernando Callas. CNN Sport.

Since planting their flag in the streets of Paris in June 2011, PSG’s Qatari investors have made no secret of their ultimate goal – continental supremacy.

Domestically it has been an era defined by brutal dominance. Seven top-flight league titles And five French Cups, incl Four triples in six seasons.

But if Europe is a combination lock, they are tirelessly searching for a locksmith with a key. They have tried seven times and failed to crack the complex code – each failure more painful and bitter than the last.

French football expert Jonathan Johnson explains, “There was a certain timeline set and once you cross that timeline every season it seems that PSG are getting further and further away, so the history The weight is coming off,” explains French football expert Jonathan Johnson.

World record signing of Neymar from Barcelona in August 2017 – For 263 million dollars – intended to provide that knight in shining armor.

No longer a back-up singer to Messi and Suarez, but now a frontman with a license to thrill and be the best in the world.

For some it was a game-changer; For Callas it remains “the biggest mistake in sports history”.

Read: How billionaire owners changed European football

Last week on the three-year anniversary of his move, the striker wrote that “(these) have come with many knowledges. I have lived through happy times and some complicated times.

Her bond with supporters in the city of love has eased her way through a whole range of Facebook relationship statuses: from ‘married’ to ‘separated’ to ‘it’s complicated.’

Everything hangs in the background with the lure of an ex-lover in Catalonia.

A long drawn out, But ultimately failed, Serenade last summer Luring Brazil back to the Camp Nou Bringing simmering tensions to a boil in Paris.

The love-hate dynamic surrounding the polarizing figure was perhaps at its best in the superstar’s first league appearance of the 2019-20 season.

Pushed relentlessly for 90 minutes before delivering a stunning match-winning bicycle kick at the very death – half slogans enticing; The other half is angry.

Callas paints a picture of Jury similarly divided down the middle along generational lines in Brazil – the young pretenders who like “the figure, the smile, the tattoo” as opposed to the old guard who are “really worried about him”. .

The Cold War in Paris has since thawed, with the realization that going back to the future is not – for now – a hopeful prospect.

“He has shown on and off the pitch that he is committed to the project […] He really has to accept the challenge of being a PSG player and achieve something, especially in the Champions League in Paris,” says Johnson.

While there may be a new leaf on the pitch, questions linger away.

Ups and downs: Brazil's relationship with PSG faithful veers between love and hate

Neymar’s personal life – at times – bears the hallmarks of a gripping telenovela – full of intrigue, and all supported by an ensemble cast.

Last year, after wrongdoing, A The Brazilian model has accused the former Brazilian captain of rape and assault.

This year he was forced to miss one league match due to injury – Two days after hosting a lavish birthday party in a nightclub in Paris.

They are ready to succeed in despair: will the boy ever become a man?

“In Brazil we have an expression that says he (Neymar) is an endless promise […] That he is “Menino Neymar” (“Baby Neymar”) – he is not a boy […] He should be in reality […] He has to grow up,” says Kallas, who has followed the Brazilian’s trials and tribulations on and off the pitch.

“When he is on the pitch he defends […] I have never heard a complaint from any coach or any other player about his attitude in training in the locker-room.

neymar retro games psg brazil football copa90 spt intl_00015429.jpg

COPA90: Old games with Neymar


– Source: COPA90

And for all the goals, assists and silverware to date, history and biology have dealt the twinkle-toed star a cruel hand – denying him the chance to have his say at the business end of European football’s elite club competition. .

Injury-shortened seasons in 2018 and 2019 coincided with dramatic appearances for PSG from the Round of 16 stage. Real Madrid And Manchester Unitedrespectively.

“That’s what makes the rest of this campaign so important and why he’s going to be under such close scrutiny,” Johnson says.

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly – and perhaps favorably for PSG – changed the dynamics for this year’s tournament final.

Gone are the two-legged knockout affairs after the quarterfinal stages, replaced instead by single-leg shoot outs – all inside the Lisbon bubble.

Without the dead sharpshooter Edinson Cavani and the Kylian Mbappé has recently been sidelinedThe destination is Neymar’s.

First awaits the surprise package of Atlanta Quarter finals; Then a potential clash with the fight hardened Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals and, after that, in a winner-takes-all final.

While the progress in the competition will – according to Johnson – “really give the (Qatari) project the shot in the arm that it needs after a couple of years of heavy frustration,” for Kalas, this month could be the start of two defining careers at the center of the narrative. year for the person in

Brazil’s contract is due to expire in 2022 And a World Cup in Qatar that same year, likely to be his last in a Brazil jersey, is absolutely “make or break”.

“We always say ‘this is going to be the year. No – this is going to be the year. No – this is going to be the year.’ […] He is 28 years old, he should be at the peak of his career but he is not […] This is his last chance.”

The telenovela has its unexpected plot twists, its moments of madness and its bursts of brilliance. Now it’s in the hands of its protagonist to script its showpiece ending.

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