The forward scored against Colombia in his first game after three months out with an ankle injury, and his club captain is glad to have him back
Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva made no attempt to hide his relief at the fact Neymar stayed at the club this summer, after the forward made a goalscoring return for Brazil on Friday night.
Playing in his first match since June, Neymar scored the second equalising goal in a 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia in Miami, turning in Dani Alves’ cross.
Brazil have another friendly against Peru on Wednesday, before Neymar faces the perhaps unenviable task of reintegrating himself back into the PSG dressing room after his dream return to Barcelona fell through. As far as Silva is concerned, though, having the 27-year-old around is a blessing.
“Thanks to God, he stayed,” Silva said after the game.
“We are very happy that he remains, because our goal is very big. Everyone knows it, it’s the Champions League. It is clear that we can not achieve our dream without great players.
“If we had let Neymar go, it would have been a great loss for us.
“After three months without playing, he showed what a great and important player he is.”
Neymar’s goal against Colombia was his 61st for his country, taking him to within one goal of Ronaldo’s tally of 62 for Brazil – incidentally, with both players having 98 international caps to their name. Only Pele sits above them, with 77 goals in 92 appearances.
With Ronaldo’s former team-mate Romario having notched 55, three of the top four scorer’s in Brazil’s history have played for Barcelona at some point in their careers. Neymar was desperate to return for a second spell this summer, but an agreement was never reached between the two clubs.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Friday that they had done everything in their power to sign Neymar, but added a renewed offer wouldn’t be made in the coming January transfer window.
Having Neymar back fit and firing will be a huge boost for PSG, at least in Ligue 1.
Following a fixture with Strasbourg, they face a trip to Lyon in the league.
PSG will be without Neymar for the first three Champions League games, including one with Real Madrid on September 18, as he is suspended following comments made after a controversial penalty decision against Manchester United saw them eliminated.
With Kylian Mbappe and Edison Cavani also likely to be missing through injuries the Paris faithful will be hoping new signng Mauro Icardi can do the job against Real, while their Brazilian star rounds into form in the league.
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