Neymar is “technically above everybody” at Paris Saint-Germain according to Nene, who feels his fellow Brazilian can still achieve all his ambitions in Paris. The veteran winger believes his former club will have to do things the hard way as their Brazilian talisman sits out the trip to Old Trafford.
PSG travel to Manchester United for Tuesday’s mouth-watering Champions League last-16 clash with their superstar forward sidelined due to a metatarsal injury. Fellow attacker Edinson Cavani faces tests on a hip problem sustained during Saturday’s Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux and Nene, who played for PSG between 2010 and 2013, feels such losses will be felt by head coach Thomas Tuchel.
“It would have been beautiful to play with Neymar because he’s a very smart player, and technically he’s above everybody,” he told Omnisport. “I think he’s living an important moment, every year he’s showing his quality, his strength. He can be stronger every year.”
Despite their dominance in France, PSG are yet to reach a Champions League semi-final and Nene believes amassing experience in the competition is key to going further in the competition. “I think some experience is missing, and also they need to be consistent,” the Sao Paulo winger explained. “There are only top-level teams, with a lot of experience in that competition. They’re playing with very strong teams, so it’s normal that they struggle to win. Every year, they’re a bit closer, this year they have a great team, I hope they’ll win it.”
Speculation has persisted over Neymar returning to La Liga following his world-record switch to PSG in 2017, but Nene feels the 27-year-old is in the perfect place to realise all his ambitions. “I don’t think that he’s bigger than Paris, because Paris today are massive as well,” he said. “They’re the same level as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“He doesn’t need to look for another team [due to being] bigger than the club. Paris are one of the most important clubs in the world. He has everything, the team, the structure. He has everything he needs to play his A-game.” On the prospect of Neymar achieving his aim of Ballon d’Or glory, Nene added: “Being one of the best players in the world, he can do it with PSG.
“He just needs the team to win big titles, like the Champions League. If he wins the Champions League with Paris he can be the best player in the world. He doesn’t need to change clubs for this.”