Neymar backs PSG for Champions League success

By Sports Desk January 08, 2020

Neymar is confident this could be the year Paris Saint-Germain end their wait for a Champions League trophy.

Having long been the dominant force in French domestic football, European supremacy has eluded the capital club.

The 2011 takeover of the club by Qatar Sports Investments took PSG to another level financially, paving the way for Neymar's arrival six years later.

But even with that backing and a wealth of talent on the pitch, the most sought-after prize has eluded the Parisians.

Asked if that could change in 2020, when the first hurdle for Thomas Tuchel's side is to get past Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, Neymar told Red Bull: "Yes, I think there's a possibility we can make it.

"In terms of the team and players, since I've played for PSG, this is the most prepared and strongest year we had in my opinion. So, I think we have a chance.

"Although PSG has never won the Champions League, we are going to fight for this title. We know our values and we hope to be in the final."

Neymar, who won Europe's top prize with Barcelona in 2015, has endured a sometimes troubled relationship with the fans at PSG, with reports over his apparent desire to leave doing little to endear him to the faithful.

Injury niggles have also limited his playing time, with off-field issues placing further strain on the 27-year-old.

The former Barcelona star concedes the past 12 months have been "tough", but he hopes to learn from his experiences.

"Professionally and personally, 2019 was a tough year for me," he said.

"It was a year full of learnings and turnarounds. I injured myself and had to come back. Then I injured myself again.

"Although it seems like a bad year, it was a year full of learnings and lots of experiences. I am taking the positive side of it so that 2020 can be better."

Related items

  • Robertson: Liverpool can't take Anfield for granted Robertson: Liverpool can't take Anfield for granted

    Andy Robertson warned Liverpool not to take Anfield for granted in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

    Champions League holders Liverpool will go into the return leg against Atletico on March 11 trailing 1-0 on aggregate after their loss at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.

    But while the Premier League leaders will be eyeing yet another special European outing at Anfield, Robertson said his team had to make sure they got the job done.

    "We can't take that for granted. Anfield's big, Anfield's amazing for us but we can't take it for granted," he told reporters.

    "I know the fans won't but the fans can't take it for granted either that it will just be another special Anfield night. We need to try and make it an Anfield night.

    "And that's up to the players and it's up to the fans to all come together to try and make it a special night and hopefully we can do it."

    Liverpool failed to have a shot on target in Madrid, where they were frustrated by Atletico after Saul Niguez's fourth-minute opener.

    Robertson, whose team are 25 points clear atop the Premier League, said Jurgen Klopp's side would need to be at their best in the return leg.

    "We are confident that we can win any game so we need to win this game. We know we need to beat them and we need to beat them with a scoreline that suits us," the left-back said.

    "We, obviously, can't really concede. We have been in this position before. You know Napoli at home, we had that same situation in the group stages [last season].

    "We have had these situations before but if we are not at 100 per cent then we will not win the game. We've got a couple of games before then and then we will be 100 per cent ready for this game."

  • Tuchel felt Neymar lacked rhythm, backs Mbappe after Dortmund loss Tuchel felt Neymar lacked rhythm, backs Mbappe after Dortmund loss

    Thomas Tuchel felt Neymar's lack of competitive matches showed and he backed Kylian Mbappe after Paris Saint-Germain's loss to Borussia Dortmund.

    Erling Haaland's brace inspired Dortmund to a 2-1 home victory in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

    Neymar was on the scoresheet on his return from a rib injury, while Mbappe also missed PSG's draw with Amiens on Saturday.

    Tuchel felt PSG's busy schedule and injuries to their stars had played a part at Signal Iduna Park.

    "We have made twice as many matches as Dortmund in recent weeks. We have had injury concerns with key players, they lack the rhythm, the hardness of the competition, as we saw with Neymar," he said, via L'Equipe.

    "Our possession of the ball was not stable enough for this not to be a physical match. There was this physical side to this match, in addition, we made too many mistakes in unnecessary positions.

    "We were lacking in timing. We lost a little confidence, and form. I thought it would be a more open game."

    Neymar said post-match he had been unhappy with PSG's management of his injury, insisting he was ready to return earlier.

    Tuchel, who felt his side played with fear, also backed Mbappe to learn from a difficult outing.

    "I knew it would be a tough game for him. He had to be very, very patient," he said.

    "We know that the technical relationship between him and Ney is good. Ney lacked rhythm, competition.

    "Kylian made an assist. It's a tough game for him, a game to grow. I trust him. We're going to have a good game at the Parc [des Princes]."

    PSG host the second leg on March 11.

  • Neymar criticises PSG over injury management Neymar criticises PSG over injury management

    Neymar hit out at Paris Saint-Germain over the management of a rib injury after making his comeback in the Champions League.

    After missing four matches, Neymar returned on Tuesday and scored for PSG, who lost 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund in the opening leg of the last-16 clash.

    Neymar hurt his rib against Montpellier on February 1 and the Brazilian star was in doubt for the trip to Dortmund before returning for Thomas Tuchel's side.

    However, Neymar – who equalised in the 75th minute before two-goal hero Erling Haaland restored Dortmund's lead – was not happy post-match.

    "It is hard after four games without playing. It was not my choice not to play, the club took this decision," Neymar said amid ongoing links of a possible move back to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

    "The club made this decision with the medical team. I wanted to play, I felt good.

    "The club were afraid, and it is I who suffers from it."

    It has been another injury-interrupted season for Neymar, who reportedly tried to engineer a return to Barca at the start of the season, having left Camp Nou in a world-record €222million deal.

    Neymar has scored 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances for leaders PSG this term.

    The 28-year-old forward has netted 16 goals across all competitions.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.