Neymar destined to be world’s best, says Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has backed teammate Neymar to be named world’s best player by FIFA this year.

Neymar has struck a rich vein of form in 2020, guiding PSG to a domestic treble and to within one victory of their first UEFA Champions League triumph.

“It’s very enjoyable to play with a guy like Neymar. He is one of the best in the world,” Mbappe told reporters after the French team defeated Leipzig 3-0 in their Champions League semifinal on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

“If we win the Champions League, he will certainly be in a position to win the award. He is destined to win this type of trophy.”

Despite not being on the scoresheet in PSG’s past two matches, Neymar has shone in a playmaker role that has showcased his fine passing skills. His back flick to set up Angel Di Maria’s first-half goal on Tuesday put in him in the top 10 for all-time Champions League assists.

PSG captain and fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva also said Neymar deserved to be recognised as the world’s pre-eminent player.

“Whether we win the final or not, I believe he can win it,” Silva said. “We know it’s his goal. He is an excellent player and this year he has done incredible things. He has been motivated since we came back from the pandemic. I think his time will come. He just has to keep working hard like he’s doing.”

Neymar has made no secret of his desire to be named the world’s best player. The former Santos and Barcelona star finished third in the FIFA award in 2015 and 2017.