At the end of the 2016-17 season, Neymar made the big money switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain. Since then, there has been a lot of turbulence surrounding his move with reports of Neymar not getting along well with Edinson Cavani and also of a rift with then coach of PSG, Unai Emery, who left for Arsenal this season.
For many years now, Neymar has been considered to be the third best player in the world, just behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But this year, Neymar was not even in the list of 10 players considered for the FIFA Best Player of the year after PSG went out in the Round of 16 in the Champions League and Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the World Cup. However, Neymar's performance was good enough to be included in the nominees for the Ballon d'Or award.
Let's take a look at 3 reasons why Neymar can win the Ballon d'Or in 2019:
#1 Neymar has shown more intensity in the Champions League fixtures this season:
To say that Neymar was solely responsible for PSG's exit in the round of 16 last season would be incorrect. But Neymar was the star man that PSG relied on once they reached the Knockout Round of the Champions League. In the first leg of the Round of 16 clash with Real Madrid, PSG were a goal ahead but surrendered their lead to Zidane's men and ended up losing 3-1.
Between the two legs of the Round of 16, Neymar was injured in a Ligue 1 match against Marseille. PSG missed Neymar and his Champions League pedigree in the return fixture. Even with Mbappe and Cavani, PSG ended up losing 1-2 and were knocked out of the Round of 16 for the second straight year.
This season, PSG has seen changes with Thomas Tuchel replacing the outgoing Unai Emery. PSG have been dominating the Ligue 1 as expected this season as well, but their start in this season's Champions League fixture was far from perfect.
They lost at Anfield to Liverpool 2-3 via a last minute goal from Firmino. But since then, they have shown character winning against at home against Red Star Belgrade and drawing with a strong Napoli side both home and away.
Neymar's biggest contribution has thus far come with his brilliant performance against Liverpool on Match Day 5. His first-half performance showed his hunger and eagerness to deliver when it matters the most. Going forward, Neymar will be the key man for PSG and if he combines well with the likes of Mbappe and Di Maria, PSG would most certainly go deep in the knockout stages of the Champions League.