In his first game as a Paris Saint-Germain player in the Parc des Princes, Neymar ran amok and humiliated Toulouse with his individual skill and ability to create for his teammates. Neymar had two goals and two assists in his home debut, and he didn’t let the crowd down.
There’s no doubt that playing without Lionel Messi has freed Neymar up to express himself more on the field, and that led to plenty of goals and assists for Paris Saint-Germain. Despite all the praise heaped on Neymar for his solo play, the Brazilian is a team player with a track record of taking his teams far.
Julio Gomes of UOL lamented Neymar’s playmaker position in his first PSG game against Guingamp away, but in Neymar’s home debut, Gomes felt that Neymar was playing his free role on the left on paper as he does for Brazil. For me, there was no difference; Neymar was free to go wherever he wanted.
While Neymar did trash plenty of Toulouse players off the dribble, you can’t really say that he was selfish or the proverbial ball hog, but there was some talk of whether or not Neymar was being disrespectful to his opponents by really showing them up.
The counter argument to this is of course that Neymar was paid to play his personal brand of flair and skill soccer, and there is the other counterargument that soccer is for entertainment. People come to the games and watch on TV and online to be entertained. If Neymar leaves someone for dead with a rainbow, then that’s fair.
This was statement game for Neymar, if you can say this for someone who is already easily the third best player in the world, and maybe the second best player in the world. This was the first time that Neymar was the leader of his own team in Europe in a big venue, and the Brazilian definitely did not disappoint. You have to remember that PSG is absolutely loaded with elite and world-class players, so the fact that Neymar stands out so much for his individual skill and speed of play and speed of thought really says something.
Neymar was everywhere for PSG, and leaving Barcelona is letting Neymar show more of his game. The PSG and Brazil Number 10 looks more versatile than Messi, if it’s safe to say that without being dogpiled by keyboard warriors on the internet. Whereas Messi has his trademark Stratavarius left foot as Ray Hudson of BeIN Sports calls it, Neymar uses both feet interchangeably to dribble, pass, and shoot.
Neymar is the man on fire right now, and no one would blame you for watching Neymar play instead of a Barcelona game.