Neymar Jr made a big splash in the Champions League this evening. In the last match of the group stage, the forward scored for the first time in the Champions League. He scored a total of three goals, which means that he also netted his first hat trick in the Blaugrana strip.
Just as he did in Celtic Park, Neymar shined on the European stage. This evening, he capped off his performance with the goals that he didn’t manage to score in Glasgow. In 81 minutes of play, the young Brazilian scored three goals, his first at the end of the first half (min 45) and two more after the break (min 48 and 58). Without Messi or Cesc, the Brazilian featured in center forward position and he was the most incisive player going forward, he created 8 goal-scoring chances.
With his latest three goals, Neymar has scored a total of eight for Barça, if we add the four he’s scored in the league and the one he scored at the Calderón in the Spanish Super Cup. In addition to scoring, Neymar also assists. The first goal scored this evening against Celtic was assisted by Neymar. In total the Brazilian has given 10 assists, making him the second-highest assister of the team behind Cesc.
Neymar joins a select group of Barça players who have scored a hat trick in the Champions League: Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Eto’o and Messi (4 times). In addition, he’s the only player to score three goals in a single game in both the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores.
I needed a match like this; I hope it continues. I’ll save the match ball so that my team-mates can sign in
After the match, Neymar said: “I needed a match like this; I hope it continues. I’ll save the match ball so that my team-mates can sign it. I’m very pleased that I scored a hat trick in the Champions League, we played really well, and that’s what is important.” When asked about his team’s possible rivals in the next round, he said, “I don’t have any preferences, we have to respect the team we’re paired up with.”