Champions League, World Cup, Ballon D’Or – Can Neymar Win It All This Year?5 min read
It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer for a world record fee of €222 million.
Of course, the financial incentives were massive and played a part – the Brazilian is reportedly earning more than £500,000 per week – making him the second highest paid footballer in the world, behind his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.
But the general consensus is that Neymar made the move to become the main man at a big European club – to ‘step out of Messi’s shadow’ so to speak – and aim to become the player to break Ronaldo and Messi’s hegemony over the Ballon D’Or award.
Gunning for Champions League Glory
The Brazilian is now the face of PSG, and the whole world will be watching when his side take on Champions League holders Real Madrid in the standout last 16 tie of the competition.
Ahead of the star-studded clash, Unai Emery’s men are second favourites to win this season’s UCL, behind favourites Manchester City.
With the Ligue 1 title all but sewn up – PSG are 12 points clear at the summit with 13 games left to play – they can afford to rest players if they get to the latter stages of the European tournament.
Neymar impressed in the Group Stages, with six goals and three assists in the Parisens’ six games.
Neymar and Brazil Eyeing Up the World Cup
But it’s not just success at club level that Neymar will be targeting this year.
He’s also the talisman of a much-fancied Brazil side, who are second favourites to lift the World Cup in Russia.
The forward scored six times and registered eight assists in 14 qualification matches, as Tite’s Brazil finished 10 points clear at the top of the CONMEBOL standings.
The Canarinho‘s group looks fairly straightforward – they should top Group A, which also includes Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
Neymar scored four goals in two group games at the last World Cup, notching a double against both Croatia and Cameroon, before his tournament was cut short by a serious back injury he suffered against Colombia in the quarter-finals.
We have priced him up at to score a hat-trick in any 2018 World Cup match, and he’s to be named player of the tournament in Russia.
With the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Willian helping the 26-year-old in attack, and a solid base behind them in the shape of Casemiro, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Alisson, it would be no surprise at all to see Neymar enjoy another prolific tournament and for Brazil go all the way in Russia.
Can the Brazilian Win it All?
A double of a Champions League triumph and a World Cup victory would surely make Neymar the favourite for the Ballon D’Or prize that he is so desperate to win.
The Brazilian’s marketability and commercial value will certainly help in his quest to achieve this – as will his form so far this season, which means he’s currently a shorter price than Cristiano Ronaldo (6/1) to win the individual gong – Neymar is to secure the gong, with Messi heading the betting at 5/4.
Bearing everything in mind, we’ve put together this interesting treble:
– PSG to win the Champions League, Brazil to win the World Cup and Neymar to win the 2018 Ballon D’Or.
If this did happen, it’s be fair to say that Neymar will have won everything that he could at Paris.
There has already been a lot of talk of the Brazilian superstar returning to Spain in the summer, with strong links to Real Madrid – we make it for Neymar to be a Los Blancos player before the summer transfer window slams shut in September.
Any move would surely require Real to break the world record transfer fee again – adding even more worth to Neymar’s ever-growing empire.