Neymar

Initially watching Neymar Jr. play was very Jekyll and Hyde, brilliant for Brazil but average for Barcelona. The Brazilian captain with 63 caps (and 43 goals!) grew into his role at the Catalan club, with his partnership with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi becoming the most feared frontline in European football. He has come a long way from the youngster that was often considered a mere show pony by many, including myself I have to admit.



Now though he is no longer considered a show pony, like Kerlon, but a genuinely exceptionally talented player, with an end product. At least at times. He does still have a tendency to do flicks and tricks for the sake of them, or seemingly just to wind up the opposition, as happened at the end of last season against Atletico Madrid.



Sadly he is also the subject of controversy off the pitch, surrounding his move from Santos to Barca, with dispute over the real fee paid, where the money went and the tax on the fee not being paid. The situation has become so difficult that he has even been named as a defendant in a fraud case brought by DIS, the Brazilian company that owned 40% of his rights while at Santos. The reported figure of £41m is not accepted as the true amount of the transfer fee.







His sending off while playing against Colombia in the 2015 Copa America could well have been as a result of the pressure he is under, not just being the captain of his country, but also facing these charges. Neymar Jr's former club Santos are now also in the process of filing charges over the transfer, with his father, the original Neymar, not escaping scrutiny for his part in the deal, despite his status in Brazil.



Under pressure from club members at Barca, it has been admitted that the true figure paid for Neymar Jr was much higher, with a figure of about £71m being the amount the Catalan club have revealed. With all the current controversy, it might be difficult for Neymar to concentrate on his game and give us more moments like this:





Instead of moments like this:





As you can see from the first video, Neymar Jr on the ball is excellent at dribbling past his opponents, though he does still have a tendency to do his work far too deep. Rather than looking to do his work in and around the box, he likes to drop into midfield to pick up the ball and run at people. That lessens the impact his work has, but it does mean he gets more of the ball to make an impact.











While Neymar does have lightning fast feet, and he does slalom through defenders at pace, he does not so much rely on twists and turns, it is more about quick shifts left and right, rather than pirouettes, that he uses. His feet are so quick, and his acceleration and deceleration are almost inhumanly fast, that he can use that incredible change of pace to leave defenders trailing in his wake, or flying past in front of him as he suddenly slows down.







I can not remember ever seeing a player able to slow down and speed up in the way he does. It is not just blistering pace, which is dangerous but can be more easily countered, it is that sudden burst forward or sudden application of the brakes that very few, if anyone else, can stay with. There are many players who can burst forward at speed, but almost no one can slow so quickly and yet still seem to be moving at pace.







The flicks, tricks and incredible ball control are world class, but what stops him just being a freestyler doing tricks outside stadiums to get passers by to throw money into a hat is that change of pace. It makes him able to get so much more out of the flicks and tricks than others could, enabling him to beat a player and leave him in his wake. Adding in the ability to score free kicks around the edge of the box, which he has got in his game, and you have a player who is truly world class.



It almost seems unfair to put him alongside Messi and Suarez up front, having, probably, three of the four best forwards in world football up front for Barca gives them an incredible advantage. If Neymar continues to improve on his end product, he could truly be in the argument for world's best footballer, along with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in years to come. With the tax and fraud issues hanging over his head, it might be a struggle for him to keep his game together.







As well as working on that end product, Neymar will need to work extremely hard on keeping his focus, both in matches and in training, if he is to maintain his progress with all the pressure on him. Not only is he expected to carry Brazil on his shoulders, he is now expected to produce for Barca every week and now there is these court cases. It is a lot for anyone, let alone a young man of 23, who is still maturing.



It is just a shame he has a tendency to play act and look for fouls that are not there on such a regular basis. That facet of his game does sully him as a player, in my opinion, as he has no need to do so. The tendency to do that is the reason he ends up in the middle of on pitch confrontations, that sometimes end up in him getting into trouble. Leave that out and he would be a far better player.



 

Written by Ed001 June 26 2018 22:54:54