Neymar’s scintillating display in Barcelona’s epic Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain may prove to be the moment he stepped up to become the world’s best player, says David Beckham.
The Brazil superstar turned in a masterclass as LaLiga giants Barca overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the last-16 tie, scoring twice in the closing stages of the dramatic 6-1 victory in the return tie.
Neymar was unable to inspire a similar turnaround as Barca crashed out at the quarter-final stage 3-0 on aggregate to Juventus this week.
However, Beckham – writing the accompaniment to Neymar’s profile after he was named in Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people – believes Neymar is ready to challenge team-mate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best.
“It’s been clear ever since he signed for Brazilian team Santos at 17 that Neymar is an outstanding talent, a once-in-a-generation type of footballer who has fans on their feet whenever he gets the ball,” former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder Beckham wrote.
“I’ve always been struck by his humility. He’s respectful and wants to learn, which he proved when he arrived at Barcelona in 2013 to play alongside some of the game’s biggest stars.
“I suspect the recent Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain, when Neymar helped his team to an unforgettable 6-1 win, will be remembered as the moment he stepped up to take on the mantle of best player in the world.
“Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have a new rival to that claim – and Neymar is ready to make his move.”
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