Footballers usually can’t wait to get back on the pitch after a poor performance and that’s exactly how Neymar will be feeling after his trip to Anfield.
Paris Saint-Germain began their Champions League campaign away to Liverpool on Tuesday and it’s fair to say the 26-year-old had one of his worst outings in recent memory.
Neymar completed a mere two of his seven attempted dribbles throughout 90 minutes against Liverpool, highlighting just how far he was from his usual self at Anfield.
Rather than toning down the flair on a night when he clearly wasn’t feeling it, though, he evidently didn’t and was also dispossessed five times - a match-high alongside the equally lacklustre Mohamed Salah.
A particular moment can be looked back on as the perfect summary of Neymar’s evening: Sadio Mane sent him back to Brazil with a simple feint that unsurprisingly went viral on social media.
But as if the PSG megastar didn’t have it bad enough on the pitch, the real suffering has come after the final whistle and the ensuing days.
No shortage of heavy criticism has been levelled at Neymar for his woeful display on Merseyside - and perhaps the most scathing of attacks so far came from Joey Barton.
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“I haven’t rated him for a while,” he told Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast on Thursday morning, per Talksport.
“He’s a phenomenal player, but he just plays for himself.
“I think he’s adversely affected that PSG team, I think they were better before they signed him.
“I know he’s a wonderful player and he brings a lot of revenue for the club, it’s probably why they’ve got the Air Jordan arm of Nike as a kit sponsor because of his flamboyance.
“But he was a disgrace, actually, for the way he played against Liverpool."
Barton has never been a big fan of Neymar, predominantly because of he and his attacking partners’ reluctance to back up trickery with hard work.
“I didn’t half feel sorry for the full-back. He got no cover at all from Neymar, who was just doing his own thing,” he said.
“Mbappe wasn’t good either, but at least he had a run around, at least he had half a go.
“PSG want to be a top side and they are a very good team, but you can’t have your front three not defending.
“Contract them to Liverpool’s front three - all equally good players and all working incredibly hard for the team.
“If you’re going to be successful at any level, whether that’s Fleetwood Town in League One, the Premier League or the Champions League, you need to be a team.
“I didn’t see that from PSG, I was really disappointed with them, and Liverpool deservedly won the game.”
It’s a big call to say the Ligue 1 giants are better off without Neymar, though Barton does raise some valid arguments.
What do you make of Barton’s take on Neymar? Leave a comment and let us know.News Now - Sport News