On 5th August 2017, Brazilian superstar Neymar shocked the footballing world by moving to Ligue 1 giants PSG for a world-record fee of 222 million euros from Spanish footballing giants FC Barcelona.
Many reasons have been cited for the Brazilian leaving Catalonia for the French capital, but one of the more prominent reasons that the media has suggested is that Neymar left Barcelona to get out of Messi's shadow and win the Ballon d'Or. However, even after a spectacular first season with Le Parisiens, in which Neymar scored 28 goals and set up an additional 16 goals for his teammates, at an average of around 61 minutes per goal involvement, he is not expected to win the Ballon d'Or.
This is because he is playing in the French Ligue 1, where the competition is far less challenging than the other big leagues. Also, Neymar failed to complete another one of his and the club's missions: Bring Paris the Champions League. If Neymar had completed this, he would definitely have gone down in history.
Instead, it looks like teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe is stealing the limelight in the French capital, and Neymar is slowly changing from the man who ripped apart teams at Barcelona, to more of a flat-track bully at Paris. Despite everything against him, here is why Neymar is still one of the best footballers in the world.
It was a big game. PSG vs Liverpool. The winner could be decisive in terms of who goes through to the knockout stage of the Champions League. Yet one man does not seem like he is feeling the pressure.
Neymar seems calm, cool, and collected, and shows exactly what he's capable of. In the 90th minute, Neymar succeeds at a spectacular rainbow flick over Xherdan Shaquiri. This was when PSG was ahead of the Reds, and most players would have chosen to waste time. Instead, the Brazilian chose to keep the game flowing, and also didn't lose his composure and slip up. This alone is a mark of a great player in how he handled the pressure.
His goalscoring record
On February 5, 2012, Neymar celebrated two occasions. Firstly, his 20th birthday. Secondly, his 100th professional goal in football. Yes, you read that correctly. Neymar scored his 100th professional goal at just 20 years old. Neymar made his professional debut at 17, and at 20 he had already scored 100 goals.
In comparison, the Brazilian Ronaldo scored "only" 64 goals before he turned 20, a stat which pales in comparison to Neymar's. In total, Neymar has scored 258 professional goals for club and country. In addition, Neymar is the highest scoring Brazilian in UCL history.
This is an amazing record, considering that the Brazilian captain is only 26. Because of this record, as well as his current form, it is hard to believe that some people have said that Neymar is no longer one of the best footballers in the world.
His trophy cabinet
Yes, I realise that even some slightly sub-standard players have won, such as Ibrahim Afellay, who went from Champions League winner to playing for relegated Stoke City, but Neymar has basically won the lot.
He has won the UCL, La Liga, Ligue 1, Copa Del Rey, Club World Cup, Puskas Award, the Spanish Super Cup, and the Confederations Cup. In fact, this is not even the entire list. Anyway, Neymar has also always proved a vital cog in the teams that have won these trophies. In fact, he could have also picked up the World Cup if not for the horrific injury he suffered in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
In total, Neymar has picked up 19 accolades as a team, plus 21 personal awards. With such a stuffed trophy cabinet, especially the sheer amount of individual awards the Brazilian has won, it is hard to call Neymar anything but world-class.
The pointless sledging of Neymar which currently occurs due to his theatrics may be warranted, but removing him of his world-class status is absolutely untrue. Due to the rise of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar has suddenly lost his standing as one of the game's current greats along with Lionel Messi and CR7, but this does not make sense.
There is no reason why Kylian and Neymar cannot both be world-class, yet modern-day fans actions have shown that due to his on-field drama, he is no longer one of the world's greatest in their eyes. Hopefully, this article has shown that Neymar has more to him than diving and hairstyles.