Football

Neymar vs Lionel Messi: Head-to-head

Neymar & Messi are two of the world's greatest. (©GettyImages)
Neymar & Messi are two of the world's greatest. (©GettyImages).

Neymar has proved himself as one of the world's most talented players this summer.

After joining La Liga legends Barcelona for £50 million, the Brazilian superstar then played a starring role as Brazil won the Confederations Cup. So, the comparisons with Lionel Messi are somewhat inevitable.

The Argentinian, at 26, is currently the irrefutable best footballer on the planet, but it would be unfair to directly compare Messi with Neymar, who is yet to reach the height of his playing and goalscoring abilities at the age of just 21.

Whilst Messi has lifted the UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, Spanish league and Copa del Rey trophies each more than once, many of those prestigious titles were picked up before he turned 21 in June 2008.

However, his pair of La Liga victories, two Spanish Super Cups and single European feat were by that time enough to contend with an array of illustrious professionals.

Neymar, in turn, has won the Brazilian league three times, as well as a trio of other trophies in the competitive, albeit less distinguished field of South American football.

The former Santos playmaker's goalscoring record - 0.56 goals per game, according to ESPN's Soccernet - is also significantly better than Messi's 0.4 goal ratio at the time.

But his achievement in breaking into a Barca team containing the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho at between 17 and 21 years of age, scoring twice in every five games against many of Europe's elite clubs, was a triumph in itself.

Meanwhile, Neymar has consistently outperformed Messi on the international stage, netting 39 goals in 24 games for the Selecao, while Barcelona's number ten had only managed four goals and two assists for the Argentina squad.

Hence, it seems that the Brazilian has become a stand-out player for club and country at an earlier stage in his career, although Neymar will ultimately be judged on his performances alongside the Nou Camp's brightest stars.

If Messi is regarded by many as the greatest player of all-time, his South American counterpart certainly has the credentials to succeed him. But has Neymar simply peaked too early - and what else can 'Leo' achieve before hanging up his gold-gilded boots?

 

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Topics:
Barcelona
Neymar
Lionel Messi
Football

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