Neymar Plays Number 10 Role in Paris Saint-Germain Debut

Neymar Plays Number 10 Role in PSG Debut

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Neymar made his Paris Saint-Germain debut last Sunday against Guingamp, and the $263 million Brazilian provided a goal, an assist, and a nutmeg for good measure. There was also a cross to Marquinhos, which the defender hit off the crossbar.

Neymar was lining up out left on paper, but the Brazil and PSG Number 10 was playing in a playmaking position as an attacking midfielder, more central than he would be at Barcelona, his former club.

Neymar had the ball constantly for PSG on Sunday, and his teammates had no problem handing over the keys to the team to him and letting him run the show, as was his due.

Every other touch for PSG seemed to be a Neymar touch. Neymar would play the ball to a teammate who would play it back to Neymar, and the Brazilian would then play the ball to someone else. No doubt PSG improved immediately with the addition of Neymar, but with Neymar PSG got an unselfish teammate.

Despite the 3-0 scoreline, Guingamp wasn’t that bad. A Guingamp own goal opened up the game in the second half, but Neymar’s excellent debut can’t be attributed to a poor opponent.

Jonathan Johnson of ESPN gave Ángel Di Maria a poor rating of 3 for the game, and the Argentinean’s so-so performance could open up a spot for Javier Pastore to start. Julio Gomes of UOL in Brazil wrote that Neymar’s best position is closer to goal, but a player like Neymar has a bigger impact on the game the more he has the ball. If Pastore does start the next game, Neymar will probably be closer to goal, or at least he might receive more passes in scoring positions.

Neymar was lively and impressive in his PSG debut, and the more we see Neymar playing without Lionel Messi, the more everyone will be able to gauge how Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar really compare to one another.

Playing for PSG could be Neymar’s first step in improving his chances to win the Ballon d’Or over Messi and Ronaldo.


Why PSG is Good for Neymar


Neymar to Paris Saint Germain is a good move for Neymar. A great move. A smart move.

At PSG, Neymar can play the Number 10 role where he can showcase his playmaking and scoring skills, and Javier Pastore even handed over his Number 10 to Neymar.

PSG is a team worthy of Neymar. The French club is a storied club that even Ronaldinho played for. For all of the hype that the English Premier League receives, most of the EPL clubs never had the best player in the world playing for them. There’s talk of the Paris side not having the caliber of players that Barcelona has, but this isn’t really true.

Neymar Has Elite Teammates at PSG

Three world-class defenders all start for PSG: Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, and Marquinhos. That’s a right back and two center backs which comprises three of the four members of the Paris backline.

The French side also have Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, and Thiago Motta in the midfield, and Verratti is arguably the best center midfielder in the world along with Arturo Vidal of Chile and Bayern Munich.

PSG isn’t without creativity and magic already. Who can forget that Javier Pastore plays for PSG? Pastore is arguably the best playmaker in the world along with Andrés Iniesta and Dimitri Payet of France and Olympique Marseille. When healthy, Pastore is a regular starter for Argentina, and he has made a name for himself in Ligue 1 for embarrassing defenders with nutmegs. The Argentinean attacking midfielder and forward from Córdoba is exactly the type of player that Neymar likes to play with. Pastore has had some injury problems, but he’s nevertheless a player who plays the brand of soccer than Neymar plays, which is are indeed.

Paris’ starting striker Edinson Cavani is widely regarded as one of the best center forwards in the world, and so Neymar will have an elite striker to feed and play off. A Number 9 like Cavani draws defenders to him, and this frees up Neymar to score more goals.

The Brazilian also has Ángel Di Maria and Lucas Moura on his team, and while Lucas is still not at his peak, Di María is easily one of the best players in all of world football.

Neymar will not be lacking for quality and support when he plays for Paris, even if PSG isn’t as storied as Barcelona and Real Madrid. You could argue that PSG was simply lacking the type of player that Real Madrid and Barcelona had. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were both the difference for those two teams which separated them from other teams in the Champions League.

Ligue 1 Is One of the Top Leagues in Europe

Besides PSG, Ligue 1 has Monaco, Marseille, Nice, and Lyon, and France has always produced a steady stream of world-class players. You can’t really argue that the technical quality or athleticism of Ligue 1 is poor. No one who has watched French football would ever say that. If anything, Ligue 1 has more technical quality and better passing than the EPL.

Neymar Can Play His Best Position at PSG

Many people view the left wing or at least the left side of the attack as Neymar’s best position, and while Neymar was playing there for Barcelona, Messi was the player who drifted centrally, which prevented Neymar from occupying that space.

There’s an argument to be made that Barcelona’s attack was very fluid with Messi, Suárez, and Neymar all moving all over the attack, but Messi was normally occupying the space right behind Suárez in the attack. A player likes Neymar wants to receive and release the ball constantly all over the field, so that he can control the team’s passing and attacking build up.

No matter how associated Neymar is with the left side of the attack, the Brazilian is more effective and influential in the middle where he has space to operate to the right and to the left, and Neymar has an outstanding weaker left foot, which he doesn’t hesitate to use more or less interchangeably with his right foot.

The Brazilian loses something when he doesn’t play with Messi, who creates non-stop scoring chances, but Neymar is at a level where he doesn’t need to be dependent on that type of service and windfall. Messi does produce a ton of assists, but you could argue that Messi’s primary concern is to collect the ball himself, dribble through everyone, and score.

When Neymar plays with Messi, Barcelona is all about Messi, so a move to PSG lets Neymar play the way that he wants to play, which ultimately gives him a better chance of winning the Ballon d’Or and the World Cup with Brazil.


What’s the Best Paris Saint-Germain Lineup?

The keys to Paris Saint-Germain’s lineup for the 2015-2016 campaign will be starting Javier Pastore as a No.10, starting David Luiz as a defensive midfielder so that Marquinhos can start with Thiago Silva at center back, and starting the active Edinson Cavani as the center forward over Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Pastore along with Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti is the key to PSG’s Front Six, and the lineup should be built around him as there are so few playmakers in today’s game like him that can truly decide matches.

The toughest decision for Laurent Blanc will be deciding whether to start Lucas Moura or Ángel Di María with Cavani up top.

Moving David Luiz out of the defense and into the anchor role of the PSG midfield allows Marquinhos to start alongside Thiago Silva at center back, and make no mistake, Marquinhos is a better central defender than David Luiz.

With David Luiz in front of Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, PSG has arguably the toughest defense to break down in world football. If you factor in Verratti and Matuidi roaming around the midfield as well, PSG has a squad that will be very difficult for even the elite Champions League teams to penetrate.

With Pastore, Cavani, and Lucas or Di María in the attack, PSG has the best attacking trident in the world after Barcelona’s trio of Lionel Messi, Luís Suárez, and Neymar.

The level of passing and attacking creativity that PSG’s Front Six will be able to showcase this season will be a sight to behold. PSG will just have to come to terms with having more superstars than starting spots, and the group will have to buy into the team concept.

Lucas and Di María will need to accept sometimes starting and sometimes not, and at times PSG’s midfield will be rotated and tweaked. Even Pastore might have to occasionally play just part of games if that is needed, but Lucas or Di María should be sacrificed first as Pastore is the orchestrator of the attack and the creator of goals.

Rounding out the lineup, Serge Aurier looks like the go-to starting right back with Maxwell at left back. Kevin Trapp is the clear first-choice goalkeeper for Blanc, but Salvatore Sirigu shouldn’t be taken lightly.

With this lineup as well as with some of its variations, Paris Saint-Germain is clearly amongst the top four club sides in the world with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich.

Below is the lineup discussed above (4-3-1-2 Formation):

Goalkeeper- Kevin TRAPP

Right Back- Serge AURIER



Left Back- MAXWELL

Right Midfielder- Marco VERRATTI

Center Midfielder- DAVID LUIZ

Left Midfielder- Blaise MATUIDI

Attacking Midfielder: Javier PASTORE

Forward- Edinson CAVANI

Forward- LUCAS Moura / Ángel DI MARÍA