Neymar has become a laughing stock for many after the end of the World Cup in Russia two years ago. Already many of the Barcelona fans and their media had been annoyed by his sudden move from Camp Nou to Paris, but as soon as Brazil were knocked out at Kazan by Belgium, some of the Brazilian fans started to lose faith in Neymar while the media made fun of his antics during the World Cup.

Neymar. Image Courtesy: News Week
Neymar. Image Courtesy: News Week

As soon as the 2018-19 season started, Neymar was not seen regularly on the football pitch. But off the field, he remained a controversial character, which dented his self-esteem to a greater extent. He missed the mega-event- Copa America last year, where Brazil triumphed at their own den and due to injuries a season had been wasted.

Meanwhile, his return to Barcelona always remained a hot topic in the media, and till now it remains a matter of speculation, and Barcelona, yet again, made it clear, Neymar would not return to Camp Nou. When asked by RAC1 whether Neymar would be targeted when the market reopens, Bartomeu attempted to dismiss the ongoing speculation by insisting that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to prevent any big-money deals from taking place.

Neymar. Image Courtesy: PSG Talk
Neymar. Image Courtesy: PSG Talk

Neymar would stay in Paris and he needs to prove a point here to shut the mouth of his critics. In fact, he has hinted. If he can control his whims and focus more on the game, he can be a one-man show. In the Champions League, the impact of Neymar was evident.

He helped Paris Sanit-Germain to advance the next round with a great display of style and creativity, while, his leading from the front had been a bonus for PSG until the COVID-19 interfered and suspended football in Europe.

The quarterfinal draw for the Champions League has been announced, where PSG would meet Atalanta. Under Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta has developed a fighting unit, which was evident during the clash against Valencia in the round of 16, while they impressed in the Group Stages as well – a draw against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester is not an easy feat.

In the Italian Serie A they are sitting in third place with just two points shy of Lazio. So, as a contender, they might not boast with stars like PSG, still, can give the opposition a scare with their unity and fighting spirit.

But if Neymar starts playing his natural game – fly like Canarinho then it would be hard for Atalanta to overcome PSG. Again, it is a great opportunity for the talented Brazilian to prove his critics wrong. Neymar has the ability to control the course of the game like Brazil legends of the past and he is able to win a match all on his own.

Neymar in action vs Real Madrid. Image Courtesy: AS
Neymar in action vs Real Madrid. Image Courtesy: AS

According to Whoscored, “From his 52 league appearances, he has incredibly played a direct hand in 73 goals. He has scored or assisted in all but six of his last 40 league matches for the club”.

“Moreover, only Mbappe has more goal involvements in Ligue 1 over the last three league seasons (84) and he made 25 more appearances than Neymar at that time. Despite playing in just over half the league games available to Neymar, he has extraordinarily completed at least 56 more dribbles than any other player in Ligue 1 (307). He averaged 6.1 successful dribbles per 90 in Ligue 1 in 2019/20, not far off Augbusrg’s return of 6.6 as a team in the Bundesliga this season – the lowest in Europe’s top five leagues”.

Neymar bicycle kick. Image Courtesy: Twitter
Neymar bicycle kick. Image Courtesy: Twitter

“Neymar has finished each of his first three seasons at PSG as the top WhoScored rated player in Ligue 1. A WhoScored rating of 8.62 is also the highest in Europe’s top five leagues. Furthermore, only Messi is playing a direct hand in a goal more frequently (one every 60.3 minutes of action) than Neymar (one every 62.3 minutes) since his move to PSG (25+ starts)”.

“The stats are out of this world. His first season at PSG, in particular, was breathtaking. He was directly involved in 32 goals in 20 league appearances (19 goals, 12 assists) in 2017/18 and claimed the WhoScored Man of the Match award 12 times. He garnered a perfect WhoScored 10 rating in 30% of his Ligue 1 appearances (6/20). The injury ended Neymar’s season earlier than hoped but he finished the campaign with a WhoScored rating of 8.95 – the highest ever return in a single league campaign across Europe’s top five leagues since WhoScored started receiving Opta data in August 2009”.

Neymar. Image Courtesy: Talksport
Neymar. Image Courtesy: Talksport

“It was an encouraging start to his PSG career. Unfortunately, Neymar has continued to pick up injuries ever since. He has still been hugely influential when he has played but it only makes his time at the club all the more frustrating”.

“In the periods where league campaigns are defined, Neymar simply hasn’t been there for PSG. Neymar missed the last 16 matches of his first season at the club with a fractured metatarsal, including the second leg of their Champions League last-16 defeat to Real Madrid. Another foot injury ruled Neymar out of 16 straight matches towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign, during which time PSG were knocked out of the last-16 of the Champions League again, this time by Manchester United. And there were more fitness problems in 19/20”.

“In total, when combining the second half of the three league campaigns Neymar has been involved with for PSG, typically the period in which most season-defining games are played, he has missed 49 of a possible 78 matches in all competitions for the French giants”.

The only thing Neymar needs to do is to shun whims and be serious about being the best in the world.

The time has come to erase the choker tag of PSG.

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