Didier Drogba Believes Neymar Can Win the Ballon d'Or at PSG

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2018

PSG's Neymar runs with the ball during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Strasbourg, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Francois Mori/Associated Press

Didier Drogba believes Neymar can win the Ballon d'Or as a Paris Saint-Germain player. The former Marseille and Chelsea striker told Le Parisien (h/t Goal's Chris Burton) Neymar has the "qualities" and "determination" to be crowned the world's best player.

Drogba called Neymar a "good friend," and also said he thinks the forward who has been linked with Real Madrid can win the biggest prizes with Les Parisiens but urged patience.

Speaking about the challenge of winning the UEFA Champions League, Drogba referred to his own experiences with Chelsea:

"Yes, they are on the right track, but PSG still has some steps to take.

"We went through several semi-finals, one final (2008) before getting there (2012). It takes time and, as we can see, it is not necessarily the best team on paper that wins this trophy.

"The adventure lasted more than eight years at Chelsea and, winning the Champions League, it was a satisfaction and, above all, a relief."

Drogba has given his backing to Neymar's Ballon d'Or chances.
Drogba has given his backing to Neymar's Ballon d'Or chances.Francois Mori/Associated Press

Whether or not Neymar can scale the heights he desires as a PSG player has become more prevalent since PSG were eliminated from the Champions League at the last-16 stage by holders Real.

Naturally, the rumours linking ex-Barcelona ace Neymar with a return to La Liga have gathered pace since. A report from El Gol Digital (h/t Mikael McKenzie of the Daily Express) has outlined how PSG would consider selling Neymar to Los Merengues, provided manager Zinedine Zidane moved the other way.

Sky Sports Spanish football pundit Guillem Balague has said Real and attacking talisman Cristiano Ronaldo are in favour of Neymar arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium this summer.

However, Drogba may have a point about Neymar's chances of winning the Ballon d'Or being strong in Paris. For one thing, the Brazil international is the undisputed star of the team, a billing he would be lucky to even share with Ronaldo in the Spanish capital.

Neymar needs to be in a team separate from Messi and Ronaldo.
Neymar needs to be in a team separate from Messi and Ronaldo.AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Neymar already has experience of being a supporting act, having performed the function for Lionel Messi in Barcelona.

Since moving to PSG last summer in a global-record deal worth £198 million, Neymar has taken his game to another level. The 26-year-old, who is recovering from a broken metatarsal, has scored 28 goals and provided 13 assists.

Neymar is the focal point at a club where significant financial resources are sure to be dedicated to building a marquee team around his talents. With better support, Neymar could take PSG to the so far elusive Champions League glory.

Doing so would surely lead to a Ballon d'Or faster than joining Real to be the successor in waiting for Ronaldo.