"We will see each other soon, friend,” the PSG star succinctly wrote, accompanied by a photo of himself hugging Messi during a Ballon d’Or ceremony.
In truth, Neymar is not the only one eager to see how the Champions League Round of 16 games pan out. Fans of European football will be treated to one of the most entertaining fixtures in recent years when PSG faces Barcelona in the last 16 of the competition.
Both teams haven’t been too impressive this season but, for some reason, the Ligue 1 giants currently look slightly better than their Spanish counterparts.
PSG slightly better than Barcelona
PSG haven’t had the best of starts in Ligue 1 and currently sit in third place, behind Lyon and Lille. Barcelona, on the other hand, lie in eighth position in La Liga and are nine points behind joint table-toppers Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid.
Both teams are currently enduring a patchy run of form, but it is Barcelona who will be most worried going into the last 16 clash. The Blaugrana have lacked consistency this season and are yet to really impress in the big games.
Ronald Koeman’s side has already lost to Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, while a 3-0 defeat against Juventus in their ultimate group game is what has led to a tough draw in the Champions League last 16.
Meanwhile, PSG navigated their way through a tougher group which contained Manchester United and RB Leipzig. Despite winning just one of their first three group games, the Parisians showed tremendous character and zeal to win the group.
The story of Barcelona’s unreal comeback against PSG the last time these two teams met still remains fresh in the mind, but the upcoming clash will be a completely different proposition.
Ronald Koeman's side on the decline
PSG are no longer as naïve and inexperienced in the Champions League, having reached the final of the competition last season. While Barcelona are not as good as they used to be.
This is a clash of two teams going different ways - PSG on a sharp rise and Barcelona on a sharp decline.
When Ronald Koeman spoke about the upcoming last 16 tie, his optimism was measured as he deliberately refused to name his side as favorites.
“We knew that it would be a difficult draw for us but I think it’s 50/50. We know that Paris Saint-Germain is a team who needs to win, who needs to continue in the Champions League. We’d like to continue. I think it’s 50/50 for the final result,” the Dutchman told Barca TV.
“They have a team, that have good players. They are spending a lot of money to win big titles. Last season they were in the final, they lost it, but they get a new chance this season and for that it’s a nice tie. They have good players, we have good players. It will be an attractive match in Barcelona and in Paris.”
Barcelona may be the bigger club, but the current team is way off the quality that the Blaugrana used to possess.
Bar Messi, this is an average team that overlies on its captain and will struggle against the pace and trickery of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Co.Published 15 Dec 2020, 14:26 IST