Football

Can Neymar become better than Messi?

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On July 1, Barcelona officially signed Brazilian superstar Neymar for almost £50m. The 21-year-old's transfer to Europe finally happened.

Barca had enough time to get the Brazilian settled, fit and ready for the new season  something Real Madrid didn't manage to do with record-signing Gareth Bale.

Many were questioning where Neymar will play with the presence of Lionel Messi at the club and many thought the pitch was too small for both of them.

Yet the critics look like have made the decision too early as we can see that both Leo and Neymar are playing very well together.

But can Neymar actually become better than Messi? One man, who believes in the Brazilian is Cafu.

The 2002 World Cup captain and winner with Brazil said: “Give him two years at Barcelona, then Neymar will surpass [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.”

Let's have a look at what the stats say so far.

Lionel Messi

Let's begin with the current number at Barcelona and in the world.

Since the beginning of the season, Messi has played six games in La Liga, scoring eight goals and providing three assists, which is quite typical for Messi and his standards.

The little Argentinian has tried his luck 27 times and has an impressive shot accuracy of 78%.

Messi has completed 231 passes and has a passing accuracy of 84%, but the thing we can see from this is that more than half of his passes (50.4%) have been played forward. The World Player of the Year is looking to advance play, to create more chances for his team-mates.

This theory reinforced by the 10 key passes Messi made in his six games.

In defence, Leo is also doing what he can. Messi has made 32 successful take-ons and has made five tackles out of six.

Leo is at his best as usual, but let's see how the newcomer is doing.

Neymar

The Brazilian has made a good impression since his arrival at the Nou Camp. He is playing as a left-winger and is doing his job quite well.

Many would say that two goals in seven games is not good enough for someone of Neymar's calibre, but let's not forget he is in a new league with a new team.

The young superstar has also made a lot less shots than Messi - only 15 and his accuracy is also worse - standing at 60%, it's almost 20% down on Messi's one.

Yet he has already managed to settle in Spain and has fitted in Barcelona quite quickly.

The five assists talk themselves about how Neymar has fitted in Barca.

Like Messi, and everyone in Barcelona, Neymar has high passing accuracy- 85%- but unlike his Argentinian team-mate, the Brazilian is trying to slow down the tempo of the game as we can see from his passes forward, which are only 29.6% out of all his passes.

This is also shown by Neymar's eight key passes in seven games- two less than Messi.

Neymar is also less effective than Messi in defence.

He has made 24 successful take-ons- 8 fewer than Messi and has completed four tackles out of six possible.

Conclusion

All in all, the only area where Neymar beats Messi is the assist-making. In all other important parts of the game, Messi is above his Brazilian team-mate.

Neymar has a long way to go to. One day he will be probably be the best in the world and this day is not very far in the future.

For now Messi is better, but he should watch carefully the 21-year-old Neymar, who could one day become as good as him...or maybe even better.

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Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Neymar
La Liga

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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