PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain were revelling in the joy of knocking holders Bayern Munich out of the Champions League in midweek when Neymar offered more cause for celebration.
In an interview with Brazilian broadcaster TNT Sports following PSG’s away-goal victory in the quarter-finals, Neymar dropped a clear hint that he would be staying at PSG beyond the end of his current contract.
“For me there is no debate, it is obvious that I feel very comfortable here and at home at Paris Saint-Germain. I feel happier than I did before,” the world’s most expensive player said.
His current contract, signed following his arrival from Barcelona for €222 million (S$354.8 million) in 2017, runs out at the end of next season, at the same time as Kylian Mbappe’s deal.
It has been reported in France since the Bayern game that PSG are hoping to be able to announce Neymar’s new deal before facing Manchester City in the first leg of a blockbuster Champions League semi-finals on April 28.
The Qatar-owned club will then hope that can persuade Mbappe to accept an extension of his own rather than opt to join one of their major rivals.
“Kylian and Neymar have no excuse for wanting to leave,” insisted PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi after Tuesday’s match.
There is no indication Neymar is lying when he states how happy he is now.
Two years ago a return to Barcelona seemed inevitable, but now the Catalans appear unable to afford the Brazilian anyway, and PSG are confirming their potential in the Champions League too.
There is no longer any need for him to want away, and PSG will hope he can now go on to play a leading role in the final weeks of the season as they target success at home and abroad.
As well as the ongoing quest for a first Champions League title, PSG are locked in a four-way fight for the Ligue 1 crown but trail leaders Lille by three points with six games left.