LEAGUE 1 - "There was a click": Neymar, the revival

LEAGUE 1 – “There was a click”: Neymar, the revival

What if all the expectations surrounding an all-star team finally materialized after months (or more) of anticipation? The first flashes of this new season go in any case in this direction. If Lionel Messi seems to have found himself in his first pre-season appearances, another player has also shown all his talent in recent days. An indisputable talent but one that tends to be a little too hidden, that of Neymar.
Last Sunday, during the Champions Trophy won against FC Nantes (4-0), the Brazilian remembered, if necessary, what “world class player” it was, as coach Christophe Galtier himself acknowledged at the end of the game. His performance portended a rediscovered soul and a sensitive connection with his teammates on the turf.

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First of all, for a sumptuous goal. In an almost similar, if slightly more axial, position to that of a certain Barcelona – PSG in March 2017, the Brazilian placed his ball on the ground 25 meters out and took off. A few seconds later, the ball found its way into the left corner of Alban Lafont’s goal. Neymar scored from a free kick, his first in 47 attempts and one game in December 2019 against Montpellier.

This is the 8th direct free kick converted in the PSG shirt for the Brazilian number 10. But against Nantes, Neymar was not content to shine in this specific exercise. He also scored two goals converting a penalty that left Lafont speechless, in his line, and he offered an almost decisive pass to Lionel Messi, extended by Pablo Chirivella, for the first Parisian goal.

And all this without Mbappe…

In general, the impression left is salivating. If FC Nantes are obviously not of the caste of Europe’s top teams, this has allowed Christophe Galtier’s men to assess their deal on the ground. And this one was real. Without the suspended Kylian Mbappé, the Parisian attack did not lack inspiration, however, and Neymar became as much a creator as a finisher. Two roles that will suit him perfectly when the big events come out during the season.

When Kylian Mbappe returns, who knows what the trio of Parisian stars will be able to do. Messi has found some finishing, Neymar some game vision, and the speed of a world champion should add to this interchangeable trio which leaves his manager with a wealth of attacking options .

In Tel Aviv, “We found Neymar”, says Luis Fernández, BeIN Sports consultant and former Paris Saint-Germain player. “There’s so much criticism coming at him that he wants to shut them up. Maybe he’s prepared differently. It’s about attitude and mindset. He really wants to be recognized apart from what people say about him. He’s changing, there was a click”continues the former Parisian coach.

A defensive presence

It is true that the former Barcelona player seemed to put aside indifference in favor of a burst of energy that was previously unknown to him. “Are you defending now?”, Nantes coach Antoine Kombouaré even sent him off in the middle of the match to insist on the Brazilian’s change of attitude in relation to the image he was sending until now.

“We always have to insist on the substitution to prevent this team from finding itself in two,” explained Christophe Galtier on the microphone of Prime Video after his victory in the Champions Trophy. Therefore, the instruction was respected by the PSG players and in particular by Neymar. “When you are physically well, it is because you make the necessary efforts and you can repeat them, observes Luis Fernández. He may have noticed to change his behavior.”

Lionel Messi, Neymar, Christophe Galtier and Kylian Mbappé, July 18, 2022, during PSG’s summer tour of Japan

Credit: Getty Images

And this awareness can be reflected in statistics. Last year, Neymar collected 13 goals and 6 assists in 22 games, a record that is certainly good but far less radiant than that of his first season in Paris, 2017-2018, where he had scored 19 goals and 13 assists in 20 departures At the start of the season, the machine is in full swing with already another double and a bid during a warm-up match against Gamba Osaka on Monday 25 July.

Found the Neymar-Messi relationship?

Each time, one value returns to the equation: Lionel Messi. The relationship between the Argentine and the Brazilian seems to have never worked so well since Messi landed at PSG last season. The Champions Trophy is the perfect illustration. The two men constantly looked for each other and the chemistry that made them strong in Barcelona came to light again.

“With Messi it will always work, they have a special and different relationship. They like each other very much. Messi helped him a lot at Barcelona, ​​he liked playing at Barca, you can’t forget that, they were very close. A friendship was born in Barcelona and is still present”. says Luis Fernández.

Lionel Messi and Neymar

Credit: Getty Images

This relationship can be worked on even more, as Christophe Galtier has decided to allow himself the possibility of exchanging the two players in his 3-4-1-2 system of play. So Neymar, who should start up front with Kylian Mbappé, could take Messi’s No.10 spot in certain games, even in certain phases of the game. However, Luis Fernández tends to qualify the system’s impact on Neymar’s performance. : “It is never a system that changes a player. It’s always the player’s feelings, what he wants to do, show on the field.

And this year more than others, Neymar has a lot to show. Because, in addition to Ligue 1 and the Champions League, the goal of the Qataris’ less “bling-bling” new project, the players are also focused on the big international deadline at the end of the calendar year. “It has started well, but it is only the first match, it will be necessary to confirm because there is a lot of expectation. The World Cup is coming,” he added. recalls the former PSG coach. A perspective that Neymar will not forget in December, before starting what could be the highlight of a successful year, the final phase of the Champions League.

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