Neymar has lived several lives at Paris SG: determined, fragile, rebellious, happy and angry, the Brazilian striker has needed time to adjust to the club from the French capital, which he is now moving to Saudi Al Hilal.
– August 14, 2017: a promising start –
PSG unveil their new jewel, bought for a record €222 million from FC Barcelona, on 14 August 2017 in Guingamp. With a goal and an assist, Neymar starts to shine.
“I feel right at home. All my teammates are not Brazilians, but they make me feel comfortable, I have the impression that I have been here for a long time, ”says the new landmark of the French championship.
– February 25, 2018: From Tension to Injury
The “penalty” faced by Uruguayan Edinson Cavani at the start of the season to see which of the two would take the maximum penalty is the first moment of tension in his career in Paris.
But this is nothing compared to what happened on February 25, 2018 during the French Cup match against Marseille: Ney injured his right leg, a fracture of the fifth metatarsal. It was a prelude to a disappointing season, knocked out in the Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid, and the start of a long streak of injuries for the Brazilian striker.
– March 6, 2019: “rebellious teenager”.
On January 23, 2019, Neymar is experiencing his injury: a series of collisions with Moatas Zemzemi, a Strasbourg player in the French Cup match, awakens pain in his right leg.
This ends with three more months of absence and another three months of hell for his team, once again humiliated in the Champions League round of 16 against Manchester United (2-0, 1-3).
Returning to Paris after being seen at the carnival in El Salvador and Rio, he is present in the stands during this March 6 departure.
He loses control and insults the judges on social networks: “It’s a shame! Four guys who don’t understand anything about football were put in slow motion to watch (…) Let them go to hell.”
Returning to the pitch in late April, he vented his rage by hitting a spectator who had been harassing him after losing the Coupe de France final against Rennes.
“You can’t do that,” his coach Thomas Tuchel criticized the day after the gesture. “Coward”, “rebellious teenager”: the Brazilian press does not forgive him for this act either.
For each of his two acts, he would receive a three-game ban, which in the Champions League case was reduced to two on appeal.
– August 23, 2020: happiness and sadness –
Neymar is feeling better and better in Paris. His 2019-2020 season is the best for him despite the early end of the French championship due to the covid-19 pandemic.
With PSG, he wins all four national trophies ahead of the Champions League Final 8. In Lisbon, without physical problems and with a big smile on his lips, he manages to lead his team to its first ever Champions League final.
His complicity with Kylian Mbappe is clear, but neither he nor the Frenchman scored in Portugal. In the final, Bayern made them pay for their failure (1-0), and Neymar left the field on the verge of tears.
– April 13, 2021: workshop in Munich –
Less than a year later, in the quarter-finals, he got his revenge on Bayern. In the first match in Germany under the snow, he managed to get two assists (3-2 win).
It is in the second leg, April 13 in the Parque de los Principes, that he will shine more, despite the defeat (1:0). In the match with Manuel Neuer, he hit the post three times, but his influence was huge.
In the semi-final against Manchester City, the Brazilian disappoints. Four days before his return, after losing 2-0, he extends his contract until 2025 with PSG.
– March 9, 2022: fiasco with Real Madrid –
The author of Mbappe’s heel pass during the first leg against Real Madrid in the 1/8 finals of the Champions League (PSG victory 1-0), Neymar again assisted the Frenchman in the second leg.
But like his side, Ney collapsed in the second half, and one of his transfers gave Benzema one of his three goals in a new Champions League fiasco for PSG. Spanish media even report a fight between the Brazilian and his goalkeeper Donnarumma, which Neymar denies on his social media.
– May 3, 2023: “Neymar, go!” –
After an incredible start to the season with PSG, Neymar takes on Brazil’s elimination in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup. His tour is cut short due to a new ankle injury in March. Low for the rest of the season, he becomes the target of the Parisian ultras, who clash with management over the future of the club.
“Neymar, go away!” sang dozens of fans dressed in black, gathered in front of the player’s house in Bougival, near Paris. Three months later, the Brazilian is heading to Saudi Arabia.