Neymar Jr is back in the goals for Paris Saint-Germain and looking forward to a bumper year in which Neymar is bidding to win major honors for both club and country.
As a new decade begins, the 27-year-old spoke about his tough 2019 with injuries, why he thinks PSG can win the Champions League and reveals two dream five-a-side teams featuring players past and present as well as four players he wishes he had played alongside.
What have you learned about yourself in 2019?
NJ: Professionally and personally, 2019 was a tough year for me. It was a year full of learnings and turnarounds. I injured myself and had to come back. Then I injured myself again. Although it seems like a bad year, it was a year full of learnings and lots of experiences. I am taking the positive side of it so that 2020 can be better.
Do you think PSG can win the Champions League this year?
NJ: Yes, I think there’s a possibility we can make it. In terms of the team and players, since I’ve played for PSG, this is the most prepared and strongest year we had in my opinion. So, I think we have a chance. Although PSG has never won the Champions League, we are going to fight for this title. We know our values and we hope to be in the final.
At 27, do you feel like you are still improving and your peak is still to come?
NJ: Yes, like everything in life. Many good things happened in my life already but I always want more. I’m always seeking new challenges, and I always want to overcome myself. Hopefully, each match and each thing that is coming will bring something good for me.
What are your expectations for 2020?
NJ: My biggest expectation for 2020 is to win everything I can with PSG and the Brazilian team. I’ll seek new challenges, I want to be in the Champions League final, I want to win the Copa America once again. These are the challenges I intend to overcome in 2020.
Are there any players Neymar would have liked to play side-by-side with, but never got the chance?
NJ: This is a tough one. There are too many players I would like to have played with. Can I mention more than one? Romario is one of them, Ronaldo too, although I played during his ‘farewell’, and Zinedine Zidane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
If you had the chance to build a Red Bull Neymar Jr’s Five team with non-Brazilian players who are still playing, who would you choose?
NJ: A team with players that are still playing: Messi, Saurez, Mbappe, Pogba and Hazard. A team with retired players: Xavi, Lampard, Gerrard, Beckham and Henry.
You’re friends with Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr. How far can these players get with both Brazil and their respective clubs?
NJ: Both of them are amazing players. They are playing very well for Real Madrid. I’m cheering for them so they can win a lot of things with Real. They are young and have come to Europe recently, so they will have a lot of experience ahead, they will grow up and will get even better than they are right now.
Brazilian people are a little bit anxious – people want fast results, want to see them winning every championship but it’s tough. The adaptation is hard, it’s hard to start playing your best in a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona. But both are playing very well so this is already a sign of a great personality. I hope they keep on this path, they keep focused and that they never forget to be happy. I’ll be supporting them.
Interview Courtesy of Red Bull Media House