In early February, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar turned 27-years old. A collective gasp went up around world football as the reality that Neymar hasn’t lived up to expectations were realised.
Neymar arrived at Barcelona in 2013. He won league titles, domestic cups, and a Champions League trophy while playing at Camp Nou. But it cannot be denied that Neymar was always the third man in a trio of top players. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were always the grafters in the side while Neymar was the luxury man.
His €222 million move to PSG was seen both as a footballing and political move. The club’s Qatari owners had sanctioned the deal due to the growing distrust and negative headlines the country had incurred due to the political climate.
Neymar’s arrival made PSG an immediate contender for the Champions League trophy. Yet, Neymar’s metatarsal injury last season ruled him out for the second half of the season. PSG weakly went out of the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid.
The Brazilian followed it up with failure at the World Cup in Russia. His biggest contribution was the continued complaining over the way other teams defended against him.
Despite starting the season well in France this year, Neymar suffered a recurrence of his metatarsal injury prior to the Champions League last-16.
While plenty of pundits and so-called football experts counted PSG out of their tie against a rejuvenated Manchester United, the Parisians blew the English out of the water thanks to Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria. When it came to the big game, Neymar was nowhere in sight and not needed.
The Brazilian forward continues to be linked with moves away from Paris and back to Spain.
His current legacy is one of a flat-track bully. He excels against the lesser teams and fails to step up in big games.
Neymar’s stats show he is an unbelievable talent. They also show his numbers come against teams that are not very good in France.
Is Neymar on par with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? Absolutely not. When the final chapters of his career are written, Neymar will be remembered more for his big transfer fees than his accomplishments on the pitch.
Twenty-one years ago, another Brazilian broke the transfer record only to fall into obscurity. That player was Denilson who joined Real Betis for £21.5 million.
Will Neymar’s career end the same way?