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The Free Critic #78

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-03-04 15:57:58

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.

In one of the previous columns, I had commented that, eventually, I would comment on Neymar. Yesterday, I watched a Japanese program in which Neymar wins a shooting duel against Sergio Ramos and Kylian Mbappé. When I finished watching the program, I could see the clear difference in how the Brazilian touched the ball, compared to the other two. The technical difference was noticeable. Neymar ended up winning the challenge in the end. Due to this challenge, I remembered what I had commented on, so I will give my opinion about the player Neymar.
Neymar is a psychologically interesting player to say the least. He is a player who easily falls into opposition provocations, it is easy to make Neymar angry during the match. However, the Brazilian seems to play even more when he was constantly fouled. This is an inherent characteristic of him. Confidence and determination have never been lacking in his football – and that is something to be admired.
In terms of technique, Neymar is one of the best ever produced. His advanced technique aligned with a vast repertoire of tricks, makes the the Brazilian an artistic value of the highest degree. Neymar is technically complete, a true spectacle on the field. What a brilliant player.
However, it is good to mention the effects that Neymar's style of play, in line with, of course, his personality, cause both the viewer and the opponent. Anyone who likes football art will be admired by what Neymar produces on the field. The opponent, on the other hand, due to the impressive dribbles — which many consider to be a lack of respect — tend to be more violent and not respect the Brazilian that much. So much so that Neymar in recent years has been one of the players who has been fouled the most.
When Neymar appeared in Santos' lineups, the difference in how he touched the ball was notorious. You could clearly see a diamond being polished. If Neymar progressed as the years passed, he would be the next big name in Brazilian football – and he did. However, some attitudes highlighted Neymar in a not so good way. Since the beginning of his career, even though Neymar was still very young, there were a number of controversies involving the Brazilian player, thus causing a certain dislike for the player. If, on the one hand, Neymar had a high number of fans, on the other hand, he had a large number of people who constantly criticized him in an assiduous way.
I, even though I was very young, remember several conversations I had with my father about the brilliant player. One of those conversations was whether Neymar would reach the top of world football, whether Neymar would be, at least once, the best player in the world. I watched European football frequently at the time, I knew that, if Neymar adapts, he would be one of the big names on the main ground of world football. I, however, was sure that as long as Lionel Messi was playing and in form, there would be no chance for Neymar to be the best in the world. Only something very specific would put Neymar at the top of world football, indeed. As the story itself tells, that ended up not happening.
In 2013, Neymar joined F.C. Barcelona, in a transfer that until today has not been very well resolved. The way in which Neymar left Santos was quite controversial, to say the least. The transfer became a legal case and there are several points that made several fans end up having a certain dislike for the Brazilian star.
The period in which Neymar was defending the colors of the Catalan team was remarkable. Neymar conquered everything he could collectively and formed one of the best attacking trios in football history. There, his football grew even more. It was in the first half of the 2015/16 season that I saw one of the best versions of Neymar. When Lionel Messi was injured against Las Palmas — I believe he was out for 2 months — Neymar ended up playing superb football. The Blaugrana fans who loved the Brazilian so much were even more ecstatic with Neymar's brilliant performances.
There, in Barcelona, and in Neymar's own words, he was very happy. Until in 2017 he decided to take a very different direction in his career. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN.
I remember when the rumors came out, reported by the excellent Marcelo Bechler, that Neymar would be leaving F.C. Barcelona. The fans did not see that with good eyes. Many called him a mercenary, an individualist and many other things. The players didn't want him to leave, but Neymar embraced Paris Saint-Germain's sporting project.
According to Neymar himself, he never aspired to be the best player in the world. Well, one would be naive to believe such an allegation. Why then would Neymar leave F.C. Barcelona to play for Paris Saint-Germain, with the Brazilian claiming to be quite happy at the Catalan club? It is obvious that he wanted a club to be a protagonist. Everyone knows that Paris Saint-Germain's sporting project had the UEFA Champions League as its main focus. If the Parisian team won the main UEFA club championship and with Neymar as the protagonist, he would have obvious chances of being the best player in the world. Playing for Barcelona, as much as Lionel Messi had already claimed that he would make Neymar the best in the world, the truth is that Neymar would always be overshadowed by the incomparable football of the Argentinian.
The fact that Neymar has started to play in a league that is more physical and that referees allow more violent fouls to happen, makes the chances of the Brazilian, who is not a robust player and tends to get injured, end up suffering a lot. However, there is an aspect that further increases Neymar's injuries, which is the fact that he holds the ball a lot in completely unnecessary situations, whether to irritate the opponent or any other reason that goes through Neymar's mind.
Obviously, Neymar is not to blame for being injured so much, interestingly as the injuries almost always happen in the same period. However, there are certain things that could be avoided by the Brazilian.
According to Ronaldo Il Fenomeno, he himself has already talked to Neymar about this aspect of when and where to hold the ball. Ronald said the following:
— Do you know what the difference between Neymar and Messi is for me? And I've said that a few times to him (Neymar), too. Neymar has to know where he is going to hold the ball and go forward. The closer to the area or inside the area, the opponent will not arrive in the same way as they arrive in midfield. They won't. They won't.
» Messi goes there in midfield, touches the ball and goes forward. When he's close to the area, he goes forward.
» The area defends the forward, he (Neymar) has to know how to use it better.
Neymar has a move that is very characteristic of him, which is to hold the ball in midfield, bringing it back while the opponent pulls him, pushes him or ends up kicking his leg. This, consequently, however unnecessary it may be, ends up causing risks for the player.
Was the 222 million euros worth it, sportingly speaking? Neymar has played something close to only 50% of Paris Saint-Germain's matches since his arrival – he has been constantly injured during most of the French team's main matches in the UEFA Champions League, etc. Financially speaking, yes; the signing of Neymar was a complete success. Paris Saint-Germain's own board has already claimed this. Of course, Neymar is a media success, the monetary return would only be a matter of time. However, taking into account that the main objective — the UEFA Champions League — was not achieved through Neymar's protagonism, yes, sportingly — and aiming only within the four lines — the project failed.
Just two years after Neymar had transferred to the Pariense team, after an already strained relationship with the supporters of Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar, in a recorded interview, admitted that he tried to leave the club. At the time, there were rumors that Barcelona wanted Neymar back. However, as the story itself tells, this was not possible. CONCLUSION
In fact, Neymar's career is marked by several controversies. Some are even exaggerated by people; some are not. Neymar's style, the way he behaves on and off the field ends up dividing many opinions about the Brazilian star. If Neymar is adored by many, Neymar is hated by many. There is nothing to comment on Neymar's brilliant football. However, some of his attitudes on and off the field helped shape a certain dislike for Neymar as a person.
To end this text, I would like to say that the football presented by Neymar, the wizardry, happy football that brings pleasant entertainment, is increasingly lacking. Neymar is, without a doubt, one of the greatest names in the history of Brazilian football, a true ace with the ball at his feet. Technically speaking, yes; one of the best. He, however, in my view, will always be the footballer who never reached his true potential — and for a number of different reasons.