Neymar says PSG renewal no longer an issue amid Barca links

By Sports Desk April 13, 2021

Neymar said his contract renewal with Paris Saint-Germain is "no longer an issue" as the star pledged his future to the Ligue 1 giants following their Champions League progress.

PSG forward Neymar – who arrived from Barcelona for a world-record €222million in 2017 – is contracted until 2022 but both parties have been in negotiations regarding a fresh deal in the French capital.

Neymar has continually been linked with a return to LaLiga powerhouse Barca, but the Brazil international confirmed his intentions to re-sign with PSG.

"This [renewal with PSG] is no longer an issue," Neymar told ESPN Brazil after PSG eliminated holders Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"Obviously I feel very comfortable and at home here at PSG. I feel happier than I was before."

PSG lost 1-0 in the return leg on Tuesday, but they still advanced on away goals after the blockbuster tie ended 3-3.

Neymar was named man of the match after he had more shots (six), more shots on target (three) and made more key passes (three) than any other PSG player, hitting the crossbar and then the post during the first half.

After PSG moved through to their second successive Champions League semi-final, Neymar celebrated with team-mate Leandro Paredes in front of Bayern star Joshua Kimmich.

"It's funny because I didn't even celebrate to mess with him, it was more with Leo and I ended up celebrating with him. It was fate that put me close to [Kimmich]," Neymar said.

"He said that their team was better, that they would win. He was sure that they would go to the semi-finals."

PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

French giants PSG have reached the semi-finals for the second season in a row, after managing to reach the final four only once in their previous 11 campaigns in the competition before that – their first in 1994-95.

PSG, though, failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Madrid in October 2015.

Related items

  • Record-breaking Liverpool delight Klopp with perfect Champions League campaign Record-breaking Liverpool delight Klopp with perfect Champions League campaign

    Jurgen Klopp hailed his record-breaking Liverpool following their 2-1 win over Milan as the Reds made it six wins from six games in the Champions League.

    Liverpool became the first English team to win all six Champions League group-stage games in a single season thanks to Tuesday's triumph at San Siro.

    Despite only Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane retaining their places in the starting XI from last week's Premier League win at Wolves, Liverpool still preserved their perfect record in Group B.

    Salah and Divock Origi struck to cancel out Fikayo Tomori's 28th-minute opener in Milan, where Liverpool were already assured of the knockout phase pre-match.

    "Honestly, I don't feel pride a lot in football because most of the time I expect good things to happen, to be honest, but tonight fills me with a lot of pride," Klopp told reporters post-match.

    "It was an exceptional performance. I don't mean that because we won six games, the reason is especially this game because it was so good. With that many changes, it's easy for me to make the changes, but in the end, the boys have to then be confident enough to show how good they are.

    "I saw so many good football things tonight, it was absolutely incredible. As a side effect, we won all the games, which is absolutely incredible and is just another chapter in the history of this wonderful group of players."

    Salah scored his 20th goal of the season in all competitions for Liverpool, in his 21st appearance – he the first player to score 20-plus goals in five consecutive campaigns for the Reds since Ian Rush (six between 1981-82 and 1986-87).

    Liverpool's Salah has been involved in 29 goals in all competitions this season (20 goals, nine assists), more than twice as many as any other Premier League player.

    Origi, meanwhile, scored his first goal in 15 Champions League games, since netting the Reds' second in their 2-0 final victory over Tottenham in June 2019.

    "In football it's all about: again and again giving everything," Origi said. "The results come by doing the right things at the right time in the right moment. Being in the moment.

    "Of course, for the outside world there's a lot of speculation but for us it's having training from tomorrow – recovery – then training again and again and again. At the end of the season we'll see how we end – but obviously we want to end in the highest way possible."

  • Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return Van der Sar addresses Ten Hag-Man Utd links as Ajax chief hints at Old Trafford return

    Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar welcomed Manchester United's rumoured interest in head coach Erik ten Hag, while he hinted at a return to the Red Devils.

    Ten Hag has been linked with Premier League giants United, who are eyeing a long-term manager following the interim appointment of Ralf Rangnick until the end of the season.

    Ajax's Ten Hag has impressed in his time in Amsterdam, where the 51-year-old has delivered two Eredivisie titles and embarked on a memorable run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

    Ten Hag's men have been the entertainers of Europe this term, dazzling their way into the Champions League round of 16, becoming the first Dutch side in history to win all six of their group-stage games in a campaign following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Sporting CP.

    Ajax have also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Van der Sar was asked about the speculation regarding Ten Hag prior to the Group C fixture in Amsterdam.

    "This means that we are doing something well," Van der Sar told RTL7 pre-game. "It's the same with the players. When we perform well, the interest comes.

    "If there is interest in our players or coach… we've all been blown away in the past. So be it, we have to make sure we're ready by then, that the lists are filled in."

    Former United goalkeeper Van der Sar has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, where the 51-year-old won four Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours between 2005 and 2011.

    Van der Sar has held the role of Ajax CEO since 2016 and he responded to the rumours by saying: "I am enjoying myself so much at Ajax, I still have two years left here.

    "I want to keep achieving things here with the club. But I am sure that one day the moment will arrive."

    Van der Sar added: "I think it's really cool to be part of the club like this, because you don't do this alone and not just this year, but in the past 10 years.

    "I still have two years to go. I don't think we're done at the club here yet. I think we can still grow in the Netherlands, but especially internationally. That's the challenge. And that seems even more cool for now."

  • Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history Ten Hag hails 'outstanding' achievement after Ajax and Haller make Champions League history

    Erik ten Hag lauded Ajax's "outstanding achievement" after the high-flying Dutch giants capped their group-stage campaign with more Champions League history.

    Ajax made it six wins from six games in Group C following Tuesday's 4-2 victory over fellow last-16 bound outfit Sporting CP in Amsterdam.

    With the triumph, Ajax became the first Dutch team to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group-stage campaign.

    Ajax also won six consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their illustrious history.

    Ten Hag's men have swept all before them in Europe this season and the Manchester United-linked head coach hailed Ajax.

    "To win one match in the [UEFA] Champions League is difficult enough, but to win six in a row is an outstanding achievement," Ten Hag said.

    "The intensity was good throughout the match this evening. You saw that in the pressure we put on them which led to the second goal by Antony."

    Sebastien Haller broke a Champions League record held by Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland when he gave Ajax the lead against Sporting, matching another feat previously only ever achieved by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Haller took his tally this term to 10 goals in six appearances – making him the quickest player to reach double figures in a Champions League career after Haaland had previously managed to so in seven matches.

    Ivory coast international Haller also became the first player to score in each of his opening six games in the competition.

    Haller is only the second player in Champions League history to score in all six matches of a single group stage after Ronaldo in 2017-18, while the former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt forward is only the second Ajax player to score 10-plus goals in a single season of the premier club competition following Soren Lerby in 1979-80.

    "There is no secret [to our success]. It’s just a matter of working hard, together. The coach tells us everything we should know. And then we just try to stay focused," Haller told UEFA.com.

    "Of course I didn't expect it [to score ten times in six matches], especially in my first games. The only thing you want to do is perform well, and be in the flow of the game. Ten goals was not in my dreams. So I can be happy and proud today."

    Haller added: "The way we train every day, the way we think; we always want to play well and perform. Even at the end of the game you could see that.

    "We're really happy with the energy and focus we put into the game, and we just hope that the next game will be the same."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.