Neymar backed for Ballon d'Or triumph at PSG by 'good friend' Drogba

The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, but a former Marseille and Chelsea star believes he can reach the top in France

Neymar “has the qualities to win the Ballon d’Or in Paris”, Didier Drogba has said amid ongoing talk of a big-money move to Real Madrid for the Brazilian forward.

The 26-year-old has spent less than one season with Paris Saint-Germain since completing a record-breaking €222 million switch from Barcelona.

He has, however, already been linked with a hasty return to Spain, with Real prepared to make him their latest ‘Galactico’.

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Drogba, though, believes that Neymar can match his ambitions in the French capital, with there no need to move on.

Asked by Le Parisien whether the Brazil international can flourish in Ligue 1, a former Marseille and Chelsea striker said: “I think so. He is a good friend. His presence brings a lot to PSG.

“He has the qualities to win the Ballon d’Or in Paris, he has the determination.”

An untimely injury prevented Neymar from playing a full part in PSG’s Champions League quest this season, with a broken metatarsal ruling him out of the return leg of a last-16 encounter with Real.

The Ligue 1 leaders have struggled to make it to the latter stages of that competition since rejoining the elite, but Drogba believes their time will come – just as Chelsea’s did when he fired them to European glory in 2012.

He added: “Yes, they are on the right track, but PSG still has some steps to take . 

“We went through several semi-finals, one final [2008] before getting there [2012]. It takes time and, as we can see, it is not necessarily the best team on paper that wins this trophy. 

“The adventure lasted more than eight years at Chelsea and, winning the Champions League, it was a satisfaction and, above all, a relief.”

While keeping a close eye on Neymar’s progress at Parc des Princes, Drogba is also monitoring other star turns across Europe.

As an icon of Ivorian football, he is particularly pleased to see fellow Africans starring in the Premier League.

Drogba said on those catching his eye: “Mohamed Salah is shattering everything in England [with Liverpool], to crush the records. 

“Sadio Mane [Liverpool], Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang [Arsenal], they are coming of age.”

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