Barcelona: Neymar was ecstatic after scoring his first hat-trick for Barcelona, against Celtic, in a Champions League match, on Wednesday.
“I needed a match like this… I hope it continues. I’ll save the match ball so that my teammates 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.”
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino was happy with his team’s performance.“It was our most complete performance, I would say, in the four months that I have been here.
“Neymar improved as the game went on. He has been playing wide for us and then to be moved to the centre meant he needed time to adapt, but the goals came and his confidence grew. All through his career you can see the quality he has, but what has surprised me here is how hard he works for the team and battles hard.”
In London, Jose Mourinho hoped Chelsea will be paired with Turkish club Galatasaray in Monday’s draw for the Champions League last 16 so that “King Didier” can return to Stamford Bridge.
Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba is still worshipped by Chelsea fans for his starring role in the club’s Champions League triumph against Bayern Munich in 2012 when he scored the winning penalty in a nerve–jangling shoot-out.
“He deserves a reception here, even better, he deserves it even more than me,” Mourinho told reporters after a routine 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday confirmed his side as winners of Group E.