The hatred towards Neymar is insane! We read all over the internet how much of a selfish player he is! People’s opinions are formed from the subjective treatment that Neymar receives from the media. But, what does the data say?
Who is a selfish player, really? For the sake of the argument, let’s say that a selfish player is one who doesn’t think about the team & plays for himself. Good, now that we have got the definition out of the way, let’s focus on Neymar’s career from 2013-present in this article.
Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013 as a Brazilian wonder-kid who was crushing the Brazilian league as the Santos’ talisman. We’ll take assists & key-passes as a key parameter for player’s unselfishness.
2013–2014 Barcelona LaLiga
2013–2014 | Barcelona | UCL
2014–2015 | Barcelona | La Liga
2014–2015 | Barcelona | UCL
2015–2016 | Barcelona | La Liga
2015–2016 | Barcelona | UCL
2016–2017| Barcelona | La Liga
2016–2017| Barcelona | UCL
2017–2018| PSG | Ligue 1
2017–2018 | PSG | UCL
Neymar is one of the top assisters at the highest levels for both Barcelona and PSG. He’s a great play-maker and has the most number of key-passes in almost all of the matches that he plays in. If you actually watch him play, you’ll notice that he’s the difference maker.
Let the data speak for the last couple of years:
People complain that he’s a ball-hogger and loses possession a lot. This is true. But he’s a generational player and one of the best dribblers of our time. His dribbles break oppositional defense, taking defenders out of their position allowing free space to his team-mates in attack. This is tactical. He takes a lot of risks in the field. Some work out, some don’t.
Neymar is the most fouled player in the game, at the highest levels. Yes, his antics on the field might be a turnoff but guess what? He does it to protect himself and win fouls for the team. You know what happened in WC 2014 when Colombia’s Juan Zuniga broke Neymar’s back? Did the referee give a red card to Juan Zuniga? It was not even a tactical foul! Neymar exaggerates the fouls & tries to convince the referees to punish the defenders so that they’ll be warned. That’s why he simulates the injuries on-field so that he doesn’t end up with a career-ending injury. Most players do that.
Look at this shameless tweet,
and the apt reply
This is the heights of hatred towards one of the greatest footballers of this generation. People’s subjectivity knows no bounds when it comes to Neymar. People say that he was really bad at the world cup. Do you know that he’s directly joined the team after a mid-season injury? If you think that he was bad, please read the statistical analysis of each one of his world cup matches. https://statsbomb.com/2018/07/the-great-neymar-debate/.
Source of all statistical data: http://whoscored.com