A Neymar-less PSG on Friday reflected a tumultous start with the Ligue Un club that has seen goals, dressing room disorder and a short football fuse
Neymar stole the attention in the summer transfer window, with the saga linking him with a move away from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain. The Brazilian ended up at the French giants after completing his move for a record fee, of around $260 million.
As the numbers show, the Seleção star has not failed to deliver in his early days in France. With Neymar’s dream of winning the FIFA player of the year award being one of the main motivations for his departure from Lionel Messi’s shadow, what does the 25-year old need to do in order to achieve his objective of being the best?
Neymar has taken Ligue 1 by storm, having scored seven goals and mustered five assists in just eight league appearances, whereas the situation in the Champions League is by no means any worse, with five goal-involvements in three games. When it comes to individual quality as well as setting up his teammates, the Brazilian is already one of the best in the business.
However, not everyone seemed to be happy with the attitude that Neymar has adopted since his arrival at PSG, especially Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan striker has been involved with several disagreements with Neymar, for the right to take penalties and free kicks. The worst part of such incidents happened during games, highlighting the lack of authority of Spanish manager Unai Emery. Such matters should have been resolved internally, instead of being displayed for the whole world to see.
Having said that, Cavani who had been under Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s shadow for years, feels that his time has come to guide PSG’s front-line, and is probably unsettled by the idea that a newcomer wants to be treated as the star from day one.
One thing about Neymar that cannot be questioned is his technical quality. The same quality that he displayed when he single-handedly knocked PSG from the UEFA Champions League last season. But if the camisa 10 wants to be recognized as the best player in the world, the first step he needs to take is to be recognized as the best player at his own club, by earning their respect. There is no use having internal problems when your goal is to achieve international success.
The best player in the world is often labeled as the one who guides his club to Champions League glory, or his national team to a World Cup triumph. While individual stats are extremely important, they are not the essential reason that determines The Best. A strong, united PSG side is in Neymar’s own interest.
Another major issue that Neymar faces, is his strong temper. If a specific team has a plan to provoke him to get a reaction, then this strategy is almost guaranteed to pay dividends. The Paulista must avoid falling prey into the temptations of the opponent. He was sent off in 2015 against Colombia and eventually missed out the rest of Copa América as well as two World Cup qualifiers, whereas he has just received his first red in a PSG shirt after falling into Marseille fans and players’ provocations in the French Classique.
Neymar has every bit of quality and technical ability to be the best player in the world. Whether he manages to achieve that, will depend on his ability to ignore provocations, win over the PSG locker room, and then guide them and/or Brazil’s national team, to international glory.