Neymar has been brought in from the wing to run the show at PSG. Could this move put the Brazilian back in the running for the Ballon d’Or?
Neymar has been known for shining on the left wing for the majority of his career, ever since he was a teenager at Santos. But German boss Thomas Tuchel has other ideas in mind for Paris Saint Germain’s number ten. He is now opting to transform him into a play-making role behind the striker. Is this the way forward for the Brazilian?
After a rather disappointing World Cup campaign, justified by many as lack of physical readiness following a severe injury in mid-European season, Neymar is looking forward to redeeming self-esteem and proving himself yet again why he was once regarded as the heir to Lionel Messi’s throne at FC Barcelona.
Champions League is key
The problem is the difficulty of catching the attention of the public while plying his trade in Ligue Un. Therefore the Champions League and the Copa América seem to be Neymar’s realistic paths towards regaining the recognition he deserves. French giants Paris Saint Germain have appointed German tactician Thomas Tuchel for this very precise task, to conquer Europe for the first time in the French club’s history.
The new manager has opted to deploy Neymar in a more central position, where the idea is that he gets more touches of the ball, resulting in more involvement in the team-game. Neymar has become the play-maker, and the technical leader of the team.
So far so good for Neymar, who is thriving in that central role as all stats, as well his performances, prove. Case in point, his last Champions League game against Red Star Belgrade. Neymar banged in a hat-trick of goals, while being the technical leader of the team, creating chances and setting up his teammates. However, against Liverpool at Anfield, it did not go too well in a game where PSG’s midfield looked non-existent. Neymar did not help in the defensive phase and his decision-making let him down at times.
Neymar changing his game
To succeed in this central role at the top level, what Neymar needs to do is to know the right time to release the ball. We are seeing clear improvements in the past few matches, but there is always room for more. As this position depends on football IQ just as much as it depends on skills.
However, Neymar’s success does not only depend on himself, his manager and teammates have their fair share of responsibilities. If the structure of the team is weak, then they cannot expect Neymar or any player in the world to save them. Heck, not even Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could save Portugal and Argentina respectively in the World Cup.
To sum it up, Neymar has everything to succeed as an attacking midfielder, or as they like to call it in Brazil, Camisa 10. He has been in excellent form for PSG this season, and everything hints that if injury-woes stay away from him, then he could well be heading to a campaign that could put him in contention for the Ballon d’Or race.