Javier Mascherano is a true leader; a born winner who gives 100 per cent in every match and is tipped to become a coach once he hangs up his boots.
The 31-year-old is more than happy to do the dirty work in defence and midfield if his Barcelona teammates are producing the goods upfront - which is often the case - but he was reportedly less than impressed with Neymar’s contribution during the team’s Champions League quarter-final second leg defeat to Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon.
Barca suffered a 2-0 defeat in Madrid, knocking them out of the competition, and Mascherano is understood to have torn into Neymar after the final whistle.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Catalan-based football journalist Javi Miguel - per Spanish newspaper AS - revealed on the radio programme ‘El Club de la Mitjanit’ this week that Mascherano and Neymar were involved in a post-match bust-up over the latter’s “selfish” play.
"Stop being so selfish," the Argentine is alleged to have shouted at Neymar, adding: "Think more about the team".
Tough couple of months for Neymar
Neymar has come in for a fair amount of criticism in recent weeks, both for his off-the-pitch lifestyle and on-pitch performances.
While it’s true that the Brazilian has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season, his performances have tailed off over the past couple of months.
Similarities with Robinho?
Some - including Sky Sports’ Spanish football pundit Terry Gibson - have even started to wonder, because of Neymar’s recent dip, whether he is on course to follow the same path as Robinho.
"Neymar has been good - great at times - but he should be doing better and he should be closer to Messi and Suarez in the goal charts," Gibson was quoted as saying by Sky Sports this week.
"The crowd at Barcelona indulge him a little bit too much at times. There were three back-heels against Espanyol that were a complete waste, but they drew a big, sharp intake of breath from the 90,000-odd people at the Nou Camp. It was pointless.
"There are similarities now between Neymar and the way Robinho - who made such a good impact at Real Madrid - ended up.
"I expected that when Neymar first came, but he surprised us all by working hard and being slightly different and being a team player.
"Barcelona will know, though. Luis Enrique is in the perfect person in position to see how he's behaving, how hard he's working in training and how he's living his life.
"All those things will contribute to whether we see the 'MSN' kept together next season. I'm not saying that is going to be the case [Neymar being sold], but I am leaning towards it more now."
Neymar involved in bust-up with Alba last month
This isn’t the first time Neymar has been involved in a bust-up with a Barcelona teammate this year.
Should Barcelona consider selling Neymar and could it actually benefit the club? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms