Neymar's eye-catching move after missing Champions League clash

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Neymar, pictured here during PSG's win over Barcelona in the Champions League.
Neymar has been liking ex-girlfriend Natalia Barulich's posts.

Brazilian football star Neymar appears to be keeping close tabs on his ex-girlfriend, liking a number of her photos on Instagram in recent days.

Neymar was quick to hit 'like' as Natalia Barulich posted a bikini photo as she soaked up the sun in the Seychelles on Wednesday.

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Neymar reportedly dated the American singer and dancer early in 2020.

Barulich's post came at an opportune time for Neymar, who watched on from the sidelines as Paris-Saint Germain advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals.

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PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino had earlier expressed his disappointment that Neymar couldn't return in time for the clash with Barcelona.

Neymar missed the first leg of the last-16 tie against his old side due to a thigh injury, but his absence barely affected his side as they romped to a 4-1 win thanks to a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick.

PSG then buried the ghosts of their embarrassing 2017 exit, eliminating Barca on Wednesday with a 1-1 home draw to complete a 5-2 aggregate victory.

Neymar had hoped to return for Wednesday's return leg at the Parc des Princes, but missed the game as he continues his recovery.

"All the medical staff and fitness coaches made a big effort to get him back for this game and to return overall," Pochettino told a virtual news conference on Tuesday.

"It's a shame because he was very excited about playing this game.

"He doesn't just want to play in the Champions League, he wants to be fit and help us achieve objectives in the Cup and league too.

"It's a difficult moment for him as he expected to recover but he needs a few more days and we hope he can return as soon as possible."

Neymar, pictured here in action for Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup.
Neymar in action for Paris Saint-Germain against Stade Malherbe Caen in the French Cup. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

PSG send Barcelona to earliest exit in 15 years

Four years after Barca claimed a memorable 6-1 win to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the last 16, PSG lacked inspiration but their 4-1 advantage from the first game in Spain was sufficient this time.

"We suffered a lot in the first half, and psychologically it was a test for us," Pochettino said.

"I gathered that the past was something that was talked about a lot here."

Mbappe opened the scoring with a penalty against the run of play on 31 minutes before Lionel Messi levelled with a superb long-range strike for his 120th goal in the competition.

However, the Argentine star had a spot kick saved by Keylor Navas on the stroke of half-time that all but ended Barca's faint hopes of overturning their aggregate deficit.

The exit is Barca's earliest in the competition since the 2006-07 campaign.

"We are departing this Champions League in a very different manner from the way we did last season," Barca coach Ronald Koeman said, referring to their 8-2 aggregate defeat in the quarter-finals by Bayern Munich last year.

"In this game, we hit our level and that's the road we have to follow."

with AAP

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