It is not only in the locker rooms (and when taking penalties) that Neymar has been fighting with Kylian Mbappé for the leading role of Paris Saint-Germain.
Overshadowed by shirt 7 in recent years and still only living in the French capital due to the lack of clubs interested in taking him out of there, the most expensive player in football history has returned from “on fire” holidays and is making the best start to the season in your entire career.
The Brazilian star, who today visits Lille, starting at 15:45 (GMT), for the third round of Ligue 1, actively participated in eight goals in his first three appearances for the Parisian team in 2022/23.
Neymar scored twice in the 4-0 rout of Nantes for the Champions Trophy, a match that marked the official opening of PSG’s season. Then, he scored a goal and three assists in the 5-0 against Clermont and put two more balls in the net in the 5-2 over Montpellier, already for the national championship.
Since debuting as a professional player, when he was still a teenager, back in 2009, for Santos, the star had never been so productive in his opening 270 minutes of football in a season.
Neymar’s best start had been in 2016/17, his farewell year to Barcelona. On the occasion, the striker started the journey with two goals and five passes for his teammates to score (seven participations) in three matches.
On the other hand, last season, already for PSG, shirt 10 took off just one goal in the initial trio of games he played.
It was the harbinger of a year that would be catastrophic, the only year of his career in Europe without scoring in the Champions League and without entering the first cut of the list of nominees for the Ballon d’Or, the award for the best in the world organized by the magazine ” France Football”.
It was because of this underperforming performance and his history of injuries and lack of commitment that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi put Neymar up for sale this transfer window. As there was no club interested in paying his millionaire salary, the Brazilian ended up remaining in the squad.
Perhaps bitten by the situation, the number 10 entered the season of the Qatar-2022 World Cup commanding the shows provided by the team now commanded by coach Christophe Galtier and bothering Mbappé, transformed into “almighty” in Paris after he refused Real Madrid’s proposal. to stay in the club.
The egos war became a public fact this past weekend. After the match against Montpellier, in which Mbappé missed a penalty (the first conceded by the team) and Neymar (who until last season was responsible for the kicks) converted another, the Brazilian liked posts on Twitter with indirections to his attacking partner.
Despite the best moment experienced by the Brazilian, Galtier sided with Mbappé in this dispute and made that clear in an interview given on Friday.
“It’s important for our strikers to score goals, for their confidence. But there are game situations, and it’s up to players to be smart to disappear when necessary to give partners confidence. That wasn’t really Neymar’s mindset last weekend.” , said the coach.
Apart from PSG, only Lyon have won the first two matches they have played this season for the French. The team financed by the Qatari government and which includes Neymar, Mbappé and Lionel Messi has won eight of the last ten editions of the national league – in 2017, it gave Monaco, and, in 2021, Lille.
Neymar in the first 3 games of the season
2022/23 (PSG): participation in 8 goals (5 his and 3 assists)
2021/22 (PSG): participation in 1 goal (1 of them)
2020/21 (PSG): participation in 3 goals (2 his and 1 assist)
2019/20 (PSG): participation in 2 goals (2 of them)
2018/19 (PSG): participation in 3 goals (2 his and 1 assist)
2017/18 (PSG): participation in 6 goals (3 his and 3 assists)
2016/17 (Barcelona): participation in 7 goals (2 his and 5 assists)
2015/16 (Barcelona): participation in 1 goal (1 of them)
2014/15 (Barcelona): participation in 2 goals (2 of them)
2013/14 (Barcelona): participation in 1 goal (1 of them)
2013 (Santos): participation in 5 goals (4 his and 1 assist)
2012 (Santos): participation in 5 goals (4 his and 1 assist)
2011 (Santos): did not participate in goals
2010 (Santos): participation in 3 goals (2 his and 1 assist)
2009 (Santos): participation in 1 goal (1 of them)