What happens to Neymar? PSG’s “10” are in their worst form since joining Ligue 1


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What happens to Neymar?  PSG's "10" are in their worst form since joining Ligue 1

It seems that Neymar is becoming more predictable or something is missing. He does not have the same energy or efficiency in everything he does in the field and his numbers confirm them

Disappointing. Transparent. Intrascendent. You can probably think of more adjectives to describe the season of Neymar up to now; in fact, these are kind words regarding the performances that the Brazilian has been offering for him Paris Saint-Germain, as some fans are much more extreme when criticizing number 10.

Neymar used to be a machine, especially in the League 1 with incredible statistics, averaging almost one goal per game (56 in 70 games in his first four seasons in France) and being involved in more than one goal per game (87 goals and more than assists in that same period). However, in the season 2021-22, his statistics they are a very different story. A goal in six games of the championship of France and 495 minutes played, with two assists and only three great chances created in total.

The Brazilian superstar used to be much more than that; took the League 1 by storm when he arrived from Barcelona in the summer of 2017, a genius with an antagonistic style and personality. He missed more than half of the games in the PSG every season (20 in the 2017-2018 season, then 17, 15 and 18), but he would make up for it by providing some moments of utter brilliance.

So what’s going on? Where has that gone Neymar and why this year’s version is a pale imitation of the brilliance he has shown in the PSG during the last four seasons?

First of all, his numbers have been steadily declining throughout his first four seasons at Parc des Princes, which is never a good sign. From 19 goals in his first season, to 15, 13 and finally just nine last year. It’s the same with his assists (13, 7, 6, 5) and just about every other important stat. In the 2017-18 season, he made 4.5 shots per game, 60% of them on target. He’s down to 1.8 this season with a 27% success rate, and went from attempting nearly 12 dribbles per game with a 60% success rate to 6.8 with just 49% success.

Perhaps what we are seeing so far this season could have been predicted. It seems that Neymar it is becoming more predictable or something is missing. You don’t have the same energy or efficiency in everything you do in the field. Basically, too often it takes too many touches but without creating any real danger. And with the arrival of Lionel Messi and the growing importance of Kylian Mbappé in the squad, Neymar He is no longer the main option with the ball. The rest of the team used to pass the ball to him almost automatically no matter where he was on the court. Now that is not the case.

Physically he has struggled to be at his best, and we’re not just talking about coming back in July for the preseason with a few extra pounds. He cannot maintain full intensity, with or without the ball, as he used to. He’s not as explosive as he used to be in his early steps, especially in one-on-one situations where he used to be one of the best in the world. It is heavier and slower.

And it’s not about her age, as she will barely turn 30 in February and should be in her prime. The problem runs deeper than age, fitness, or teammates.

Perhaps, he is beginning to be a little indifferent. He has done it all so far, in a sense, earning almost everything he can earn in a lucrative and brilliant 15-year professional career. However, the fall is still impressive.

Neymar has not yet achieved an outstanding performance with the PSG this season; His average rating in the French newspaper L’Equipe is 4.3 in his six appearances in the League 1 Until now. He posted a 2 for his terrible performance in the surprising 2-0 defeat in Rennes just before the international break in October, and a 3 for his performance in the recent draw with Marseille. They were better in the 2-1 September win over Lyon, but overall they are far from good enough. It’s a similar story in the Champions League: Neymar He played against Brugge and Manchester City but had no goals, assists or chances created.

After giving him a big four-year contract at the end of last season, the PSG I expected more from him this year, but sources within the club tell ESPN that the club is not worried. They are sure that Neymar it will regain its best version. For his part, Neymar is equally sure that he will regain his best form.

What does Mauricio Pochettino think? The technician has a close relationship with Neymar and he’s happy with it. He tells it to him in private and he also says it publicly: he is satisfied with the performances of Neymar. He even praised him after the Marseille game.

However, there is one thing that Neymar does better now than before: defend. Believe it or not, the Brazilian has made a real change by supporting his teammates at the rear this season. Has this been to the detriment of his offensive quality? We will only know in the future.

PSG need to Neymar at his best if he wants to win the Champions League. The Brazilian assisted Angel Di Maria for the decisive goal in the 2-1 win against champion Lille last Friday, which bodes well for his commitment against Leipzig in the Champions League. In the end, those who are in the PSG they hope that sooner rather than later they can see the real Neymar.


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