The cap pulled down on his head, a red blanket to keep him warm, Neymar had spent a first period of this Champions Trophy, looking frustrated. After warming up at the break, then a few minutes later, the Brazilian finally came into play. In the 65th minute, he replaced Angel Di Maria. A hug later, he was on Bollaert’s lawn, showing off his brand new neon yellow shoes by making a superb heeled pass for Verratti.
While the last training session had led to believe in his tenure, Neymar was ultimately only a substitute at kick-off. A month after his sprained left foot, at the end of the match against Lyon, after a dangerous tackle from Thiago Mendes, he quickly plunged into this second clasico of the season, after having been one of the protagonists of the September meeting.
“I think Ney is still a very professional player,” Keylor Navas commented the day before. He was injured but every time he tries to recover 100% to participate in every game because that’s what he likes: playing. We of course want him to be in the field. Sports justice has not managed to decide the versions between the accusations of racism of Neymar and those of homophobia of Alvaro Gonzalez. But, deep down, the Brazilian is convinced of the racist remarks of the Spaniard.
Congratulations from Pochettino
In any case, Alvaro did not lose the opportunity to greet the Parisian in his own way from his first steps on the pitch. From the 68th, he cut Neymar in the heart of a slalom at the entrance to the surface. He put back two layers in the following minutes and collected a logical warning (78th), just like Lirola a little earlier (72nd). Neymar therefore succeeded in his return by increasing the pressure on the Marseillais at the end of the match. He was simply not successful in his free kick attempts – deflected for a corner by the wall (71st) – or in his center – too long – for Kimpembe.
When, after resorting to VAR, the referee designated the penalty spot, Icardi pushed him towards his destiny. He kissed the ball, made his traditional run up and took Pelé (85th) against the back. The Brazilian could indulge in a little dance after being covered by all of his partners so happy for him.
He then received congratulations from Mauricio Pochettino who knows can already thank the Brazilian for this first title of his coaching career. And who knows above all that he has again his most beautiful offensive weapon one month before the meeting in Barcelona in the Champions League.