“Dictating games from behind despite being a forward is one of the hallmarks of a legendary customer and someone like Neymar possesses such qualities and for which, still despite not fully involved on the pitch actively, big clubs want this Brazilian on their side because they are well aware of his talent”

 

Real Madrid came out all guns blazing against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last night. Two of their pivots – Fede Valverde and Casemiro kept things tight in the centre, whil Isco added an extra-bit of flair to that diamond-shaped midfield. It allowed freedom for the attackers, which kept PSG at bay for the most part of the game.

One of Thomas Tuchel’s main men in the centre of midfield rhis season have been Marquinhos and Idrissa Gueye. But an Isco man-marking of Marquinhos, while Casemiro and Valverde cutting-short of Gueye prompted Tuchel to take drastic measures in the second half. Gueye was substituted and Neymar was brought on.

Neymar looked rusty at the start. But as the time progressed, he started to gather momentum via unleashing an array of depth touches –  typical Brazilian body movements, chicky dribbles, flicks and short-passes, from deep. He was not fully fit, but the only way he could create an impact on the match was by his ability to dictate the game from behind via these depth touches. Remember when Diego Maradona was struggling through fitness during Italia 90, he relied more on such skills rather than running with the ball at pace. Neymar was doing the same last night.

Neymar was actively involved in PSG’s comeback. He outweighed the marker of Real Madrid with body movements, advanced forward, then got involved with one-to-one touch with one of PSG players and from the centre passed it to the left-flank from where the cross was deflected at which Pablo Sarabia latched on to a loose ball and score.

It was a low cross and Real Madrid defence just did nothing to stop it and even they were not up to their mark when Mbappe scored one of the easiest of goals. There are problems with Real defence, but let hat not undermine the build-up of Neymar from the deep.  It helped the team to move forward. It was a half-chance, which was converted, but it all started from that Neymar-move.

Dictating games from behind despite being a forward is one of the hallmarks of a legendary customer and someone like Neymar possesses such qualities and for which, still despite not fully involved on the pitch actively, big clubs want this Brazilian on their side because they are well aware of his talent.

 

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