Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Neymar comes big when it mattered the most……

 

There is is a reason to love Neymar despite his whimsical behaviour. It is always hard to dislike a genius who is flawed, but still sits in your heart permanently and always gives you hope. You continue to hope, if any player can do it on the big stage in a crucial match like Cristiano Ronaldo then it is none other than Neymar.

Frustrations regarding those strings of injuries, absence due to sister’s birthday, antics on the field, getting mocked due to self-destructive behaviours and continuous rumours regarding the leave from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to Barcelona other than the footballing activities, just don’t stop your love for Neymar because the love for a genius never vanishes, but it continues to grow each day.

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The reason behind the most expensive transfer of all-time was about signing a Brazilian genius who would give Paris Saint-Germain the x-factor, which they have been lacking in the crucial stages of the Champions League. At one point, the signing seemed to be proving a total joke, but after last night’s encounter, one cannot end up thinking such. The Brazilian spread his wings and all fell in love with him, yet again – love during the time of Coronavirus.

The clash against Borussia Dortmund was contested behind closed doors to prevent Coronavirus. Like Mestalla, plenty of fans waited outside the stadium to back PSG. They were trailing by 2-1 and required a top-class show to outweigh a brilliant Dortmund side, who have gained a new dimension after the joining of Erling Haaland.

PSG have are not known to make comebacks in the second leg of a Champions League match when they are trailing. Even they bottled it many times. As a matter of fact, the expectations were low. Neymar, who entered the stadium in a care-free mood, felt no pressure at all but seemed confident of turning things around. He did it before and at Paris, he can do it. He would make Paris fall in love with him.

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Neymar played in both legs of the Round of 16 for the first time ever and his impact was enormous as PSG defeated Borussia Dortmund to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016. Neymar netted in the first leg in Dortmund but stepped up to score another a home.

The Brazilian set the tempo in just 28 minutes.

PSG earned a corner. Angel Di Maria curled one so sharply that it fell in the range of an unmarked Neymar who moved forward with a diving header from a point-blank range. PSG tied the score and then Juan Bernat doubled the tally.

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The Brazilian talisman played a crucial role in the second goal. Neymar up the ball with his back to goal turned quickly in a tight space and picked out Angel Di Maria just outside the area, who played the ball out wide before Bernat’s slight touch beat Burki.

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It was just the second time that Neymar scored from a header in a Champions League match. The last time he did such was against PSG while playing for Barcelona in 2015. It was his 35th goal in Champions League.   Neymar has been directly involved in 38 goals in 28 home Champions League appearances (20 for Barcelona, 8 for PSG), scoring 26 goals and assisting 12.

PSG were without Kylian Mbappe, who was down with an illness, Thomas Tuchel relied on Neymar to deliver one of the best performances since he arrived in Paris. And Neymar did not let his coach and the team down.

Injuries might have cut short the pace, but his dribbling skill and clever movements helped a lot to clear the ball and ease the pressure and his role as a center forward and dropping back in the midfield when required aided PSG to win back the possession.

Not only his skillful display was on the show, but he provoked Dortmund by mocking the celebration of Haaland and then antagonizing Emre Can to receive a red card with time running out.

It was the night of Neymar. He owned Paris and outclassed Dortmund with skill and smartness. It was the Neymar, which all wish to watch and enjoy.

The love for Neymar is a never-ending one!