Coach Luis Enrique hailed Barcelona’s record breaking 6-1 win over Paris St Germain as a triumph of collective will but they were indebted to Neymar in a performance the Brazilian called the best of his career.
Neymar, who joined Barca from Santos in 2013, was widely reported to have been in negotiations with PSG last summer before signing a new contract with the Catalans until 2021.
The French champions were given a painful reminder of why they had courted Neymar, who upstaged colleague Lionel Messi and put the Spanish champions into the quarter-finals of the Champions League by playing a part in four of their six goals on Wednesday night.
“It’s the best game I’ve played in my life, because of the whole story, the goals and for what it means to the team,” the Brazilian said.
Neymar earned a penalty early in the second half which Messi dispatched to make it 3-0 on the night and then gave Barca renewed belief with a curled free-kick after Edinson Cavani’s volley looked to have wrecked the chances of a comeback.
Neymar, who had reportedly promised he would score twice against the French champions, took up penalty taking duties to net the fifth and then provided the cross for Sergi Roberto to volley in the sixth, clinching Barca’s place stunning late recovery after a 4-0 thrashing in the first leg.
“Something like this only happens once in a lifetime. No-one believed we could score six but we did,” Neymar told BeIN Sports.
“When we believe and we play like this it’s very difficult to stop Barca. This win feels like a trophy, we lived this game like it was a final,” added the 25-year-old.