Few players have had a dramatic a 2017 as Neymar, a footballer who redefined his life with a record-shattering jump from the Camp Nou
2017 was a life-changing year for Neymar, despite the forward having failed to win any major trophies. The Brazilian put on some of his best performances throughout the calendar year both for Barcelona and PSG, showing just why he is rated as the heir to the throne of the current kings of world football – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The last couple of months featured a lot of ups and downs for Neymar, but it cannot be forgotten that the 25-year-old had his best ever performances since his move to European football, where he did what Messi himself could not do, and that is to save Barcelona from early elimination against Paris Saint Germain, in the UEFA Champions League. The French side had built a 4-0 lead in the first leg, and the Catalans were desperate for a hero to put them back on the right track – it was when Neymar showed up at his best, to score two goals and deliver the last-gasp assist which would eventually secure qualification.
By the end of the season, it had become quite clear that the Brazil international was no longer happy with life at Barça and was looking to secure a move to the French capital. After a very tense period of negotiations, the transfer would eventually be completed for a world record of around $250 million.
Since then, Neymar has been on crazy form in Ligue Un as well as in the Champions League, having already scored 17 goals with 11 assists, which is a total of 28 goal involvements in just 19 appearances for the French giants. A large proportion of them came in Europe’s elite competition, as the Brazilian has managed six goals and three assists so far, keeping him just behind five-time world player of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo. His most notable performance in the competition was no doubt when he was able to run the show against Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes, by scoring a goal in the second half after setting-up teammate Dani Alves for the opener in the first.
Neymar is always keen on helping the Seleção, and this is exactly what he has done throughout 2017. His valuable chip-goal away to Uruguay’s fortress in Montevideo, following by his stunning solo-goal against Paraguay in São Paulo, were enough to help Brazil book a ticket to the 2018 World Cup back in March – this meant that the five-time world champions were the first to join hosts Russia.
After a year when Neymar was able to show just how good he can be in the Champions League and for his national side, 2018 will arguably be the most challenging year in Neymar’s career. PSG are set to collide with reigning European and world champions Real Madrid in the round of 16 in February, where the Brazilian will have to prove his worth against Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo. On the other hand, Brazil are set to enter the World Cup with the only objective of redeeming self-esteem and conquering the sixth star, after the humiliation on home soil in 2014. Let the challenge begin!