Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva has backed want-away clubmate and compatriot Neymar to have a big season with the French champions, noting that coach Thomas Tuchel is counting on the Brazilian star.
Talking in the mixed zone after Brazil's 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia - the match that saw Neymar return to action in style with an assist and a goal - Thiago Silva is hoping that the season ahead can be a special one for all concerned despite Neymar's having pushed hard for a summer move back to Barcelona.
'This lad is amazing'
"He knows that he has made mistakes, but he has no bad intentions," explained Thiago Silva of the footballing prodigy who made some questionable decisions in his campaign to return to Spain despite having cost Paris Saint-Germain a world-record €222m just two injury-marred seasons ago. "This lad is amazing, I hope he has a great season. It will be unforgettable too because PSG will celebrate its 50th birthday."
With Barcelona unable to convince returned Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo with a cash plus player(s) deal, Neymar has resigned himself to another season in France, but Thiago Silva believes that coach Thomas Tuchel will be counting on the Brazilian superstar to play a key role for the capital club.
'Counting on Neymar'
"Tuchel has always said he was counting on Neymar," Silva declared. "I hope I'm not talking out of school, but he was already ready to play in the last match against Metz [in Ligue 1 Conforama's Week 4]. But because of the situation on the transfer market, he didn't play."
Tuchel's re-worked side managed a 2-0 win away to promoted Metz, but with Neymar's fellow star forwards Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappé both out injured at the moment, Neymar could prove crucial.
"The coach can count on him. So I think it's important. Management also believes in him. Otherwise, they would have let him go. We are happy about that," continued Silva, who knows that a happy Neymar is the Neymar who scores goals and lifts the team's level. "I hope he's going to have better days. It's really my wish because we know him, not just the player, but the person. Especially after the last year."
Back in action?
Neymar should be available to take the field in his first league appearance of the season as Strasbourg come calling at the Parc des Princes for their Week 5 clash on Saturday 14 September, but he will be serving the first of a three-match UEFA Champions League ban when the capital club take on Real Madrid in their Group A Matchday 1 clash four days later.