Paris Saint-Germain has once again been hit by a flood of injuries going into a crunch Champions League knockout tie, but this time Neymar is fit and seemingly ready to live up to his status as the world’s most expensive player.
PSG faces Atalanta on Wednesday in the first quarterfinal of the ‘Final Eight’.
There will be no fans in the Estadio da Luz, but the French champion coped just fine behind closed doors when it beat Borussia Dortmund in its last-16, second leg in March.
That night Neymar scored the opener in a 2-0 win as it overturned a first-leg deficit.
After the game, the Brazilian sat on a step high up in the stands at the Parc des Princes and shed tears of joy. After all, his first two seasons in Paris following his 222 million-euro ($264 million) transfer from Barcelona were marred by injuries at the worst possible moments.
Neymar seems to be in fine shape to lead his team as it looks to progress to the CL semifinals for the first time since the Qatari takeover in 2011.
The other superstar forward, Kylian Mbappe, battles to shake off an ankle injury.
Angel di Maria is suspended while Edinson Cavani left at the end of June when his contract expired.
But as long as Neymar is fit, PSG will remain hopeful.
Meanwhile, Atalanta is playing with anger in its eyes and pain in its heart and that emotion could help propel the team from Bergamo beyond expectations.
The small city of Bergamo saw more than 6,000 people die due to COVID-19.
The Atalanta players have talked about bringing the smiles back on the faces of their supporters.
Atalanta reached the last eight winning 8-4 on aggregate against Valencia.