Brazilian superstar, Neymar was in good mood despite carrying the pain of a broken foot as he celebrated his 27th birthday with friends and family in Paris on Monday night.
It was a glittering event that even has smattering of celebrities. DJ Bob Sinclair, Brazilian singer Wesley Safadao and world surf champion Gabriel Medina were among the 200 guests at the fashionable Pavillon Gabriel near the Champs-Elysees.
The former Barcelona winger stormed the venue leaning on distinctive red crutches in keeping with the colour theme for the ‘Nuit Rouge (Red Night)’.
Interestingly, Neymar is in good company when it comes to famous footballers sharing his big day, as Cristiano Ronaldo turns 34 on Tuesday, Carlos Tevez is 35, and former Romania great Gheorghe Hagi is 54.
Among his PSG teammates in attendance were Captain Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti and goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon and Alphonse Areola but France World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé was not part of the guests in attendance despite the event holding in France and not Neymar’s home land in Brazil.
Mbappe is rated as one of the finest young players in the world and tipped to win the Ballon D’Or – a title Neymar have craved for all his life. The Brazilian moved to PSG to get away from Lionel Messi’s shadows and hopefully win the award but Mbappe seem a genuine contender for the gong.
Although, they are teammates, Neymar may feel threatened that his chances of winning the prestigious award may evaporate into thin air especially with his latest injury while Mbappe prepares with the rest of the team for the UEFA Champions League last-16 clash against Manchester United.
Speaking to L’Equipe about the round of 16 showdown, Silva said: ‘It’s going to be a great clash against Manchester.
‘To beat them we will have to be at 110 per cent. Solskjaer possibly walked away from here happy because we did not play really well.’
Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has been hard at work in the gym as he continues his rehabilitation from a broken foot.
Neymar has scored 20 goals and contributed 11 assists this season and he will be a huge miss for PSG for both legs of their Champions League last-16 clash with Manchester United.
Buffon added: “Every year, I always thought it could be the right year. But it is now 24 years since I am trying to win the Champions League.
“But it’s very hard to do so. You have to be a bit lucky. Right now for us, it’s a special time because Ney got injured. For us, Ney is a very important player because he did unbelievable stuff for the team during the last three months. For us, it’s dangerous to not have him.”
He made his debut for Les Rouge-et-Bleu on 13 August, netting a goal for himself and also setting up another in a 3–0 away victory over Guingamp. Neymar added two more goals to his tally in the next Ligue 1 fixture against Toulouse.
Forming a prolific attacking trio alongside teenage French prodigy Kylian Mbappé and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, Neymar scored one each in PSG’s two opening games of the 2017–18 UEFA Champions’ League group stage, with the team winning 5–0 at Celtic and 3–0 at home over Bayern Munich respectively.
During a 3–0 defeat of rivals Olympique de Marseille on 25 February 2018, Neymar fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot. He traveled to Belo Horizonte and underwent a successful operation on his foot. He failed to make another appearance for PSG while recovering from the injury, and consequently ended his first season in Paris with 28 goals in 30 matches.
On 12 August 2018, Neymar scored PSG’s opening league goal of the 2018–19 season in a 3–0 win over Caen at Parc des Princes. Neymar scored from a penalty in his next game as PSG won 3–1 against Guingamp in Ligue 1.
In the following league game, the front three of Neymar, Mbappé and Cavani all scored in a 3–1 win over Angers at home, with Neymar scoring from Mbappé‘s cut back and setting up Cavani to score the opener. On 3 October 2018, Neymar scored a hattrick in a 6–1 win over Red Star Belgrade in a Champions League group stage fixture.