In his return from injury on Saturday evening at the Camp Nou against Rayo Vallecano, Neymar stole the headlines with a wonderstrike against Rayo helpless goalkeeper Ruben. Picking the ball up just inside the Rayo half, Neymar accelerated past a couple of defenders and unleashed a thunderbolt from 25 yards that arrowed into the top corner, sending the crowd wild. From the Culés watching on at home, shaking their heads in disbelief at this incredible goal to the fans at the stadium who were rapturously signalling their delight, everyone fell back in love with Neymar thanks to one fell swoop of his right boot.
Suddenly, the whole unpleasant nonsense surrounding his transfer was temporarily forgotten; and a more important question was asked: how did we cope without him?
The Brazilian is a special, once-in-a-generation kind of player; he can do things with the football that others couldn't even dream of, he can be the difference between winning and losing. Yet in spite of all this, there is an overwhelming belief that Neymar will not, and perhaps should not start against Manchester City tonight.
Admittedly, Barcelona will not be hindered by his absence given the spectacular form of Pedro and Alexis Sanchez, but this is Neymar we're talking about -- if he's on form, there are few better. We witnessed first hand just how much Manchester City struggled against Eden Hazard a couple of weeks ago and isn't Neymar as good as, if not better than the Belgian? Alongside Lionel Messi, Neymar could really wreak havoc against the City defense and be the difference between a good result and a great one.
If you were in Gerardo Martino's position, what would you do tonight? Would you start Neymar knowing that there are question marks surrounding his fitness, or would you opt for either Pedro and Alexis Sanchez knowing that their bad habits could make an unwanted reappearance at any time?
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