clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Neto: The backup between the posts that Barcelona needed?

New, comments

The Brazilian has arrived at the Camp Nou from Valencia

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

Following the departure of Jasper Cillessen to Valencia, the Oranges repaid the favour by providing Barcelona with the well-travelled Neto. While many may not view one such transfer to be of significance due to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s undisputed standing as first choice keeper, Barca will certainly want a reliable backup in the case of the No.1’s unavailability. Let’s take a look at how Neto’s goalkeeping career has progressed thus far, in order to determine whether he may be a necessary addition to Barca in the upcoming season.

In 2009, Neto was promoted from the Atlético Paranaense B team to their first team in his native country of Brazil. In his debut league game, Neto kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Barueri and then appeared for 45 minutes against Botafogo in a 2-0 victory- yet another clean sheet.

This bright start saw Neto assume the role of first choice keeper for the following season. He appeared in a total of 34 league games, in which he conceded 39 goals yet still managed to keep a respectable 11 clean sheets.

Juventus FC v ACF Fiorentina - TIM Cup Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Such an impressive showing made Neto a prime transfer target for Fiorentina, who snatched up the Brazilian for €3.5 million during the following transfer window His debut season in Italy was uneventful, however, as he was made to sit on the bench as backup.

This lack of game time continued for a number of seasons, and the next time Neto found himself playing a significant role in proceedings was in the Coppa Italia during the 2012/13 season. While Neto only played six Serie A matches that season, he was selected as the starting goalkeeper in the domestic cup. He appeared in four matches and kept three clean sheets, with the only goal conceded coming against Roma after extra-time in a tight quarter-final clash.

Neto’s commitment to the Italian outfit paid off as he soon rose to the rank of first choice keeper in the 2013/14 campaign. Not only did this season see Neto experience Serie A first hand, but he also got a taste of European football, with Fiorentina having qualified for the Europa League. In total, Neto kept 12 clean sheets in 35 Serie A matches. With some of these coming against the likes of Napoli, Atalanta, Lazio and AC Milan, the Brazilian proved that he had what it takes to cope with top European sides. On top of this, Neto helped his side to the Europa League round of 16 and the Coppa Italia final, thus proving himself an asset to the club.

ACF Fiorentina v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32 Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

The following season saw Neto take his European game to new heights, by helping his side to the Europa League semi-finals. During his campaign, he helped Fiorentina overcome the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and AS Roma, keeping clean sheets against both sides in the process. Most importantly, Neto’s 10 Serie A shutouts helped his side to finish in fourth place in the league table, and thus secure a spot in the Champions League for the upcoming season.

Following his latest success, Neto moved to Italian champions Juventus on a free transfer. Again, he was relegated to a place on the bench, only making eight appearances in all competitions. While his appearances were few, his presence was certainly felt, as he led his side to the Coppa Italia trophy, keeping an impressive four clean sheets in five matches in the process. He thus proved to be a talented and reliable keeper, who could be trusted when the first choice keeper was in need of a rest.

Juventus v S.S. Lazio - 2015 Italian Super Cup Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Again, Neto’s performances in 2016/17 were few, but again his input was critical to Juventus’s success. He yet again led his side to the Coppa Italia trophy, playing every minute of the tournament, and kept a clean sheet in his sole Champions League appearance against Dinamo Zagreb. Even in Serie A, where he appeared in just eight matches, he exceeded expectations by securing six clean sheets while only letting in a measly two goals.

With more first-team action on the cards, Neto made the decision to sign with Valencia during the following transfer window. This move certainly paid off, as the Brazilian became his new club’s No. 1 choice between the sticks from the get-go. Ten La Liga clean sheets in 33 matches saw Neto continue his form from Juventus, with two of these coming against Sevilla and another against Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United v Valencia - UEFA Champions League Group H Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

He scooped up yet another 10 clean sheets in the 2018/19 La Liga season, and enjoyed a whole host of matches on the European stage. He represented Valencia against the likes of Juventus and Manchester United in the Champions League group stage, and even bagged a clean sheet against the Red Devils at Old Trafford. When his side gained entry into the Europa League by way of third-placed finish in the group stage, he helped his side to the semi finals, picking up three clean sheets along the way.

Valencia v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Semi Final : Second Leg Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

While Neto has had a rollercoaster career, constantly being shifted between the starting XI and the bench, he has maintained his talent on the field and always persists in contributing to his team’s success, no matter how little game time he enjoys. This is particularly important considering Barca’s incredibly busy fixture list. In addition, Neto is accustomed to spending plenty of time on the bench, which should mean that the loss of game time to Ter Stegen should not faze him too much.

In Neto, the Blaugranes have a backup goalkeeper who can step up to the plate when options are few, cope on the field against top-tier opponents, and fill in for Barca during those Copa del Rey matches when the fixture list becomes increasingly busy.