First of all, let’s make this clear: without Neymar, Barcelona wouldn’t have even reached the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Brazilian superstar inspired Barça in their remarkable victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round, producing 10 truly exceptional minutes towards the end of the second leg to turn the tie on its head.
But could he inspire the Catalan giants again against Juventus?
Article continues below
He failed to shine in the first leg in Turin but, then again, none of his teammates performed particularly well that night.
Juve recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory, leaving Luis Enrique’s side with a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Article continues below
Neymar was disappointing against Juventus
Could Neymar make amends at the Camp Nou, like he did against PSG?
In truth, he was disappointing. Lionel Messi may have spurned Barça’s best chances on the night, but at least the Argentine was busy, constantly demanding the ball and trying his best to drag his team back into the tie.
“Neymar and [Luis] Suarez never turned up for the two legs,” former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said on ITV Sport after the match. “Messi still showed moments of magic but never really troubled the goalkeeper.”
Neymar recorded an embarrassing statistic v Juventus
Judging by his emotional reaction at the final whistle, you get the impression Neymar would agree with Keane’s comments. He wasn’t able to showcase his world-class talents in Barcelona’s biggest match of the season so far.
In fact, Neymar recorded one pretty damning - and embarrassing - statistic against the Italian club.
According to the Daily Mail, Neymar lost the ball 46 times over the course of the 90 minutes - that’s more than any player in the Champions League this season.
Top five wasteful performances - Champions League 2016/17
Incredibly, Neymar occupies three spots in the top five ‘most wasteful performance’ list in the 2016-17 Champions League campaign.
19/04/2017 | Neymar v Juventus
Possession lost: 46
28/09/2016 | Neymar v Borussia Monchengladbach
Possession lost: 41
18/10/2016 | Ludwig Augustinsson v Leicester City
Possession lost: 40
08/03/2017 | Neymar v Paris Saint-Germain
Possession lost: 38
13/09/2016 | Caner Erkin v Benfica
Possession lost: 37
This indicates that for all Neymar’s talent, the South American has a problem with retaining possession.
But Neymar has still been excellent in this season's UCL
However, in the balance of fairness, it should be noted that no player in this season’s Champions League has completed more take-ons (49), created more chances (25) or registered more assists (eight) than the 25-year-old.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms