As the World Cup nears its glorious end, one of the major talking points has been a former Barcelona player… Neymar. Now in constant spotlight over the summer for two years in a row, the spotlight hasn’t been beautiful for Neymar.
Last summer, many disagreed with his apparent money-grabbing move to PSG – clearly an inferior team to Barcelona, as well as the lower quality of the French league. This summer, Neymar has taken the World Cup by storm, but not in the way you might first think.
While Neymar has scored, provided assists, and of course dazzled while on the ball, a different aspect of his game has been constantly debated… his diving.
While the Brazilian certainly does get fouled a lot (in fact he average the most fouls per game while playing for his club this year), there are a lot of times when a slight touch produces a painful demonstration.
Neymar skids to a stop, dives, and begins rolling. His behavior on the pitch has been criticized to the point where a “Neymar Challenge” arose in which participants roll on the ground for as long as possible.
Last summer, not many agreed that selling Neymar was a good move for Barcelona. Depicted to be the next Ballon d’Or winner, many thought Barcelona would regret the move immediately.
But up to date, those conclusions have not been reached. At PSG, Neymar bowed out to Real Madrid in the round of 16, he has been injured, and Brazil knocked out of the World Cup.
With being a Barcelona player, a certain amount of grace and respect for the game is also expected. This is demonstrated perfectly with Lionel Messi.
While Messi is the best player of all time, he has never been accused of being a diver. Instead, even when he is constantly battered while on the ball, Messi seems to choose the opposite and keeps driving forward. Unless he cannot continue play, Messi will not fall to the ground until absolutely necessary.
With the negative aspects of Neymar’s game on display for a year and a half now, a larger amount of people certainly agree with Barcelona’s decision to sell him.
Certainly there is no denying his quality and world class abilities, but Neymar’s attitude has always been a problem and barring some significant change, will continue to hinder his ability to become the best.