October 26, 2021

‘Neymar could easily claim three Ballons d’Or’ – PSG star on track to ‘become the best in the world’, says Rivaldo

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The former Brazil international is delighted to see a fellow countryman “focusing on his football” again after a turbulent period at Parc des Princes

Neymar “could easily claim” three Ballon d’Or awards before he retires, according to Rivaldo, who says the Paris Saint-Germain star is on track to “become the best in the world”.

After four successful seasons at Barcelona, Neymar became the most expensive player in history when he completed a €222 million (£200m/$260m) move to PSG in the summer of 2017.

The 28-year-old has since scored 70 goals in 81 appearances for the club, while picking up three Ligue 1 winners’ medals.

However, he has yet to fully justify PSG’s initial investment amid persistent struggles with injury and disciplinary issues away from the pitch.

Neymar made no secret of his discontent after a frustrating 2018-19 campaign, and pushed for a return to Barca, but the Spanish champions were unable to agree on a final fee with PSG.

The Brazil international was forced to stay put as a result, and his fitness problems continued in the first half of the new season, before he appeared to reach a turning point in his Parc des Princes career.

Since the turn of the year, the ex-Barca talisman has knuckled down in a bid to rediscover his best form, with his standout performances coming in a last-16 Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Neymar scored decisive goals in both legs as PSG advanced to the quarter-finals, and he also netted the winner in the French Cup final last week, which marked the club’s first game back since returning from lockdown.

Thomas Tuchel’s men could go on to secure an unprecedented treble when the Champions League resumes next month, and Rivaldo believes his compatriot is finally ready to fulfil his full potential.

“Neymar has been receiving plaudits for the way he is focusing on his football. His attitude seems to be just right at the moment and that can only bode well for PSG in the Champions League,” the former Brazil and Barcelona midfielder wrote in his latest column for Betfair.

“He’s already 28-years-old, so perhaps he felt it was time to concentrate on being again that sensational player who could easily claim a Ballon d’Or or, in my view, two or three.

“It’s not easy for a player to exclusively focus on football when they’re surrounded by so much noise and distraction. But Neymar looks more controlled in his behaviour now and he’s only showing up on the news for his achievements on the pitch which makes me very happy.

“I’m a great admirer of Neymar and I want him to become the best in the world. I believe that can happen naturally if he manages to keep this new attitude from now on as he is clearly on the right path.”