Football

Published on July 19th, 2017 | by BrazilStats

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Why Neymar needs to move away from Leo Messi’s shadow

The media landscape is alight with stories over Neymar swapping Barcelona for PSG – it may never happen but it’s the right move for the Brazilian forward

Over the past few days, Spanish and Brazilian media have insisted that Neymar is unhappy at Barcelona. Brazilian media outlet Esporte Interativo has stated that the seleção could be on the verge of signing for Paris Saint Germain. Should the 25-year old stay at Barcelona, or get out of his comfort zone?

The last time a Brazilian was recognized as the best player in the world, was in 2007 when Ricardo Kaká guided Italian giants AC Milan to the UEFA Champions League title, as the main figure of that side. 10 years later, if there is any Brazilian who has the talent to revive these glory days and win the FIFA player of the year award, then you would have to bet your money on the Barcelona star.

Neymar has many reasons to stay at Barcelona, such as being part of a legendary South American trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, playing at one of the most successful clubs over the past 15 years, being under the spotlight of thousands of Camp Nou fans week in week in, at a side that is every single year among the favorite to win Europe’s elite competition.

However, the pros of Neymar leaving Barcelona surpass the cons, in my opinion. At the peak of his footballing days, it is time for Neymar to be his own hero and write his own story by depending on his own self to make the difference, rather than relying on the brilliance of Lionel Messi.

At Barcelona, the Brazilian will never be the one charged to make the difference – although he has every single bit of ability, to do it. What happened against PSG in the return leg last season, was a rarity where Neymar took responsibility, probably because no one else in the team had believed that a comeback was still possible – not as much he did, at least. And the result, was a masterclass.

The first counter-argument is that winning the Ballon d’Or from France would be impossible. However, the truth is that in recent years, the winner tends to be the player who performs best in the decisive stages of the Champions League. If Neymar can be the UCL’s best player, then it won’t matter in which league he plays.

Ligue 1 is not competitive enough? Well, the gap between PSG and the average French side is probably smaller than the one between Barcelona and the average La Liga side. PSG finished last season in second with 87 points, whereas Barcelona collected 90 – in both cases, not enough to win the title. Add to that, the fact that Neymar would be forced to make the difference in every single league game, be it an easy tie or a tough one – rather than rely on someone else to do it.

It would be great for Brazilian football to have a contingent at PSG composed of Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves, Lucas Moura and possibly Neymar – especially in World Cup season. However, whether the attacker remains at Barça or decides to leave the club, is something we don’t know, and solely based on reports in worldwide press.

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