Neymar Backs PSG for Champions League Success, Reflects on 'Difficult' 2019

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 21: Neymar Jr of Paris Saint Germain celebrates during the French League 1  match between Paris Saint Germain v Amiens SC at the Parc des Princes on December 21, 2019 in Paris France (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar believes the club are better than ever and can win the UEFA Champions League, while he hopes to put a "difficult year" behind him. 

The Brazil international spoke to Globo Esporte (h/t ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson) and was asked about his goals for the coming year. He's aiming big with club and country:

"My main aim for 2020 is to win everything I can with PSG and Brazil. To take on new challenges, to reach the Champions League final and to win the Copa America again.

[…]

"It could be [PSG's year to succeed], yes. In terms of our squad, since I have been here, this is the year that we have been the best prepared―the strongest in every sense.

"Yes, we have a chance. PSG have never won the Champions League, but we will fight to win everything. We know our qualities, the quality of our squad and obviously we hope to be there when it comes to the crunch."

He also talked about his injury-shortened 2019, admitting it was a tough 12 months for him:

"2019 was a very difficult year for me in every way―professionally and personally. It was a year of learning, of twists and turns, and bettering oneself.

"I was injured and had to get back on my feet. I ended up hurting myself again. So, it was a year of twists and turns. Even if it sounds like a wasted year, I learned a lot― gained experience."

Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Injuries ravaged the 27-year-old, robbing him of the chance to play in the lost Champions League tie against Manchester United and the Copa America.

He was linked with a return to Barcelona throughout the summer, and when that move didn't materliase, it led to a falling-out with large sections of PSG fans, who no longer wanted him around:

Neymar finished the year on a high, scoring in all five matches he played in during the month of December. In 10 Ligue 1 outings, he has eight goals and four assists, but he's been limited to just one start and one appearance off the bench in the Champions League this season.

Les Parisiens have found their best form after a shaky start to the season and are on an 11-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. They have a seven-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 standings, sporting the division's top attack (43 goals scored) and defence (10 conceded).

They have a wealth of attacking options, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria all presenting a major threat in front of goal.

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 21: (L-R) Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint Germain, Neymar Jr of Paris Saint Germain, Juan Bernat of Paris Saint Germain celebrate  during the French League 1  match between Paris Saint Germain v Amiens SC at the Parc des Princes on D
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

It's easy to see why Neymar is confident in his team's chances in Europe's top club competition. Les Parisiens finished ahead of La Liga giants Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages, winning five of their six matches and losing none.

The Brazilian is once again loving life in the French capital, and even contemplating signing a new contract, per Le Parisien (h/t Goal):

The fastest way to win back the PSG fans is with more on-pitch success, and delivering the club their Champions League title would go a long way toward erasing the negativity of 2019.

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