Sweet revenge: Neymar to ‘stay for a long time’ after inspiring Paris Saint-Germain to edge past Bayern Munich in Champions League
Neymar was in tears after Bayern beat Paris 1-0 in last season's Champions League final in August, and there was a sense that the quarter-final tie between the two clubs this season might end in heartbreak for him again after an astonishing six minutes in the first half in which he hit both posts and, with a superb curling strike, the crossbar.
Almost as soon as the frame of the goal had stopped shaking from that effort, Bayern took the lead they had needed to level the tie after losing the first leg 3-2 in Germany, Eric Choupo-Moting reacting quickest after Keylor Navas had spilled a cross to head the visitors in front on the night.
Full of trickery and skills, Neymar went closest in the second half, failing to connect with a cross at close range by the narrowest of margins in an end-to-end contest which also saw Navas thwart the likes of Thomas Muller and Kylian Mbappe have a goal ruled out for offside.
It was impossible not to feel that Bayern would have scored more had they not been without top scorer Robert Lewandowski for both legs, yet the impact Neymar had in the first fixture, when he set up goals for Mbappe and Marquinhos inside the first 28 minutes, ultimately cost the reigning champions.
"We're a real team and we have to congratulate everyone," Neymar beamed afterwards, holding his Player of the Match trophy.
"The most important thing is that we qualified. Now we're in the semis and we're aiming even higher.
"I'm very happy. We played a great team and we're a great team as well. We've eliminated the champions of Europe, we're in the semi-finals and we'll have to work even more."
Even more encouragingly for PSG, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told Sky Sport that Neymar would "stay at PSG for a very long time" when he was asked about the most expensive player in the world's contract.
"We have invested a lot in the club to win the Champions League and all the trophies available," Al-Khelaifi added to RMC Sport. "Neymar and Kylian have no reason to leave.
"We really have everything to win every competition. We have a great team. We have respect for the others but we are there with them. We are working, and it is not over.
"We need to continue, to remain calm because the Champions League isn't finished. We need to work more every day.
"The belief is there. The secret is work. The finer details make the difference, too."Also on rt.com ‘Was Fergie best man?’ World Cup final ref marries German lover who is also an official – and fans mock him with Man United jokes