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Neymar is in the form of his life as after redemption at PSG

In the world’s fashion capital it seems only right that a Parisian icon is launching his own spring/summer collection — with Neymar currently stitching together a run of goals and assists that is turning heads.

This is usually the time of year when the Brazilian picks up a season-disrupting injury, dealing a crushing blow to Paris Saint-Germain’s hopes of finally winning the Champions League.

In 2018, Neymar fractured his metatarsal during a match with Marseille on February 25 and didn’t appear again for the remainder of the season, just about making it back in time for the World Cup in Russia.

Neymar is in the form of his life after a remarkable transformation in his fortunes at PSG

The Brazilian star scored twice as PSG won 2-0 at Lille to move 10 points clear in Ligue 1

The Brazilian star scored twice as PSG won 2-0 at Lille to move 10 points clear in Ligue 1

And last season, he suffered another foot injury in late January, missing PSG’s shock European exit to Manchester United, before returning for the final few weeks of the season.

It would be a terrible shame if a similar fate should befall Neymar this year, because after an incredible transformation in his fortunes, the forward is back to his world-beating best.

Neymar’s return from injury at the end of last season was followed by a summer of agitating for a move back to Barcelona, the club that sold him to PSG for a world record £200million in 2017.

Despite missing the Copa America because of another injury, Neymar failed to report on time for PSG’s pre-season training and spent the rest of the summer doing everything within his power to get back to the Nou Camp.

Neymar recoils in agony after fracturing his metatarsal against Marseille back in 2018

Neymar recoils in agony after fracturing his metatarsal against Marseille back in 2018

He was forced to watch from the sidelines last season as PSG lost in Europe to Man United

He was forced to watch from the sidelines last season as PSG lost in Europe to Man United

But Neymar defied his foot injury to attend the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro two nights earlier

But Neymar defied his foot injury to attend the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro two nights earlier

Neymar this season 

All competitions

Matches: 17

Goals: 15

Assists: 9

He even offered to contribute £17.7m towards his own transfer costs after PSG stubbornly refused to lower their asking price before reluctantly accepting that he wouldn’t be granted his wish.

By the time a sulking Neymar reappeared in Paris in September, he was very much the outcast in the eye of the PSG fans, who rightly questioned his loyalty to the club.

The Ultras were especially merciless with their expletive-laden insults towards him when he returned in a Ligue 1 match against Strasbourg, having held up banners reading ‘Neymar go away’ at earlier games.

Paris Saint-Germain Ultras unfurled banners demanding Neymar leave their club in August

Paris Saint-Germain Ultras unfurled banners demanding Neymar leave their club in August

One banner referenced the ¿20m Neymar offered to pay to push through his Barcelona return

One banner referenced the €20m Neymar offered to pay to push through his Barcelona return

Even when he scored the game’s only goal with a scissor-kick volley, he was jeered and was forced to rein in his celebrations so as not to antagonise the fans.

That now seems like ancient history after an astonishing volte-face in Neymar’s fortunes that very few both inside and outside PSG could have predicted.

Since returning from a hamstring injury in late November, he has scored 11 times, including nine in his last seven league outings, and contributed nine assists.

Two goals in Sunday night’s 2-0 win at Lille, a result that moved PSG 10 points clear of Marseille at the Ligue 1 summit, made it 13 from 13 matches.

For the fans, all is forgiven and it isn’t really because of the goal returns, which have always been good, but the way Neymar has actually knuckled down and worked hard for the team in recent weeks.

PSG are on course for yet another Ligue 1 title, sitting 10 points clear at the top of the table

PSG are on course for yet another Ligue 1 title, sitting 10 points clear at the top of the table

Neymar scored a stunning scissor kick when he returned to the team back in September

Neymar scored a stunning scissor kick when he returned to the team back in September

Neymar has hit a rich vein of form with 11 goals in his last 10 outings in all competitions

Neymar has hit a rich vein of form with 11 goals in his last 10 outings in all competitions

The Brazilian has also improved his work ethic, dropping back to help out his team-mates

The Brazilian has also improved his work ethic, dropping back to help out his team-mates

He now tracks back to held cover in defence, he drops into midfield to bring others into the play and there’s less of the histrionics like rolling around on the turf whenever he’s fouled.

Of course, the cynics will say that Neymar has decided to concentrate on producing six exceptional months in order to finally force through a move this summer.

But when he comes out and says things like, ‘I’m playing at 100 per cent and dedicated to PSG this season’ his on-field performances make it easier to believe he is being genuine.

Indeed, there were reports in France last week suggesting talks over a contract extension have already begun. 

Neymar celebrates his 28th birthday on February 5 and seems to be back in his prime at the right time of his career. He has two more years to run on his PSG contract, so they may choose to cash in.

The Brazilian star dresses to impress at the a Balmain menswear show earlier this month

The Brazilian star dresses to impress at the a Balmain menswear show earlier this month

Neymar enjoys the NBA basketball in Paris over the weekend with Icardi and Mbappe

Neymar enjoys the NBA basketball in Paris over the weekend with Icardi and Mbappe

But will the interest be there? Only Barcelona or Real Madrid realistically both want him in their team and be able to afford his wages. A summer chase for him is far from guaranteed.

PSG remain on track for another domestic Treble – the league appears to be in the bag already, they head to third-tier Pau in the French Cup last-16 in midweek and will take on Lyon in the League Cup final in April.

But the Champions League remains the holy grail and they face a tricky last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund in the coming weeks.

The good news is that Neymar – not to mention partners in crime Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria – are all in excellent form.

Vilified just six months ago, Neymar is back to being lionised again thanks to his own combination of graft and goals.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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