The natural successor: Has Neymar blown it?

Fortitude

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A couple of years back, it was pretty much a given in football circles that Neymar was the best-player-in-the-world-in-waiting (BPITWIW ohoho), once Messi and Ronaldo wound down. That train of thought has nosedived over the last 18 months, hasn't it? And even in thread where people name their top whatever, Neymar is not the 2nd or 3rd name being listed.

Has the move to PSG, and the subsequent failures of that team in the CL, altered perceptions of Neymar, or is there another reason why he's no longer being rated as he once was?

He's 28 in a couple of weeks time, and should arguably be in, or at, his peak now; with Messi looking good for at least 2 more years as the de facto best, Neymar, as a then 30-year old, would very probably have to deliver at the level Messi is right now, to usurp him as a then 34-year old, is that feasible?

I think it's fair to say that most believe Mbappé is now the one who will take the mantel on; the the dates/years line up, as he'll be 23 by then, and injuries permitting, should be an evolved version of what he already he is. Currently, and realistically, there isn't another player currently in the fold, is there? But anyway, I digress, Neymar: as the title says, has he 'blown it' and if he has, is it because of PSG, or was it always destined to be a false dawn?
 

Red00012

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I think he lost credibility going to PSG, by the way , is he currently injured ? I had genuinely forgotten he existed.
 

JPRouve

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Neymar is great and better than Mbappé but his injuries and the fact that he left Barcelona for a club in France has affected people's opinion.
 

flappyjay

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I think his injuries have played a bigger impact on his star waning. He gotten injured in the second half of the season 2 times in a row. What happens in the 2nd half of the season (UCL) determines how people view a player who plays in these weak leagues.
 

Bastian

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I don't think he's as professional as Ronaldo and Messi, which is probably the main reason he's not progressed. But yes, the move to PSG was a downwards move and he'd have been in much better shape to take over from the big boys if he'd stayed at Barca. I doubt he'll ever win a ballon d'or.
 

DWelbz19

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Only fools don’t rate Neymar as an elite level player. It’s his injuries that have held him back.
 

RoyH1

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Only fools don’t rate Neymar as an elite level player. It’s his injuries that have held him back.
And his work ethic. All those trips back to Brazil with his boiss and to inspect his sisters behind take their toll.
 

xonyo

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I just don't think Neymar is as good as those two, whilst he was the considered the 'best of the rest', unless one of those two slipped up or started to decline significantly he can't compete. Also, being in a weaker league doesn't help, his whole reputation seems to be simply based on the champions league and international tournaments.
 

ayushreddevil9

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He is an elite level player but he moved to the best club in the farmers league where he would rarely get tested. The only time he gets good opposition is the CL which is like 10 games a year. Injuries didn't help him too.
 

cyberman

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He disappeared in France. Fans rarely watch 90 min games from him anymore and he has become a twitter highlights player.
 

Pexbo

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Messi and Ronaldo peaked for so long he actually missed his moment. If they had a downward trajectory starting 3/4 years ago then I think he would have kicked on and taken the mantle but they didn’t and he didn’t.

Now they are slowing down, he’s lost all motivation and momentum and it hasn’t helped him having Mbappé shining brighter than him when he joined them to be the biggest fish in a smaller pond.
 

mu4c_20le

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He blew it when he turned down a move to Old Trafford. Career went downhill from there.
 

JPRouve

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I don't think he's as professional as Ronaldo and Messi, which is probably the main reason he's not progressed. But yes, the move to PSG was a downwards move and he'd have been in much better shape to take over from the big boys if he'd stayed at Barca. I doubt he'll ever win a ballon d'or.
I slightly disagree. His first mistake was to move to Barcelona because he was and would have always been Messi's sidekick, from that point he was stuck because no other club could purchase him outside of Man City. In a way it reminds me Maradona at Napoli, he has played with Careca and Zola but people still claim that he was alone in that team. The only player that has shared the light with Messi is Xavi.
 

Bastian

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I slightly disagree. His first mistake was to move to Barcelona because he was and would have always been Messi's sidekick, from that point he was stuck because no other club could purchase him outside of Man City. In a way it reminds me Maradona at Napoli, he has played with Careca and Zola but people still claim that he was alone in that team. The only player that has shared the light with Messi is Xavi.
Yeah, maybe he should have gone to Real in the first place. But he looked great at Barca.
 

MuranoLover

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horsechoker

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Hard to take his accomplishments in the French league seriously. Scoring 8 goals a week against farmers is nothing. Mbappe on the other hand is still young and has already won a world Cup.

At least Neymar can cry into his pile of money.
 

JPRouve

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Yeah, maybe he should have gone to Real in the first place. But he looked great at Barca.
Real were also a bad fit, he would have been Ronaldo's sidekick. In terms of legacy, his best option was to not demand the amount of money that he wanted from Barcelona and go to a club like Inter, Juventus or one of the top PL clubs.
 

Neil_Buchanan

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His talent is undeniable but he doesn't have the mentality that Messi and Ronaldo have, hasn't made the smart career moves that they have and he seems to be injured too often.
 

ashfritz

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I think Neymar lost a lot of credibility during the World Cup with his diving antics. His play acting arguably became a bigger part of his game than his actual football. Compare this to Ronaldo, who also used a lot of play acting early on, but largely cut it out of his game as he got older at Real Madrid, and shone through on his skill more. Even if he still does it occassionally, its not a defining feature of his game.

I personally knew Neymar would end up like this from his Santos days, bought into his own hype without the workrate to back it up.

As if any evidence is needed that his play acting and selfishness/showboating can be counter productive and toxic, Brazil finally won Copa America without his disruptive presence im the squad.
 

MS4

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Typical brazilian no?

Its insanse that he is already 28. It feels like he recently joined barca and already left. The last years in PSG just passed so fast.
I still think of him as he was the young star and in fact with another injury, he could be soon playing in Milan, Besiktas or Shanghai :D
 

SER19

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He's 28 in a week. When you compare the levels Ronaldo and Messi we're at by that age he shouldn't be in the same conversation as them
 

kafta

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I don’t think he’s had the career that justifies comparing him Ronaldo and Messi. I get it he’s had injury, but I don’t get rating a player based on talent or peak level. Over the course of his career, he hasn’t done enough to be in that conversation.
 

Peyroteo

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Needs to stop getting injured for 6 months every season and miss out on the big matches. He can keep doing his thing in France but if he once again misses out on the CL matches and the Copa America then noone will remember anything he's done.
 

JPRouve

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I don't think that it's a comparison with Messi and Ronaldo but simply a question of who is going to be the at the top of the food chain.
 

DWelbz19

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Who told you that they didn't care about football?
This level of unsubstantiated exaggeration tends to follow players in their mould. God forbid you show a little personality.
 

JPRouve

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This level of unsubstantiated exaggeration tends to follow players in their mould. God forbid you show a little personality.
The weird thing is that Neymar's injuries are because he chose to play football and play during summer 2018 instead of resting and fully recover.
 

Bastian

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Real were also a bad fit, he would have been Ronaldo's sidekick. In terms of legacy, his best option was to not demand the amount of money that he wanted from Barcelona and go to a club like Inter, Juventus or one of the top PL clubs.
Not sure about that. Maybe Juve.
 

TheReligion

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It's a shame really as I'm a huge fan and would still love him at United. The move to PSG, along with injuries and the repeated failures of the club to deliver outside of France, has really hurt him. He needs a fresh start elsewhere. As mentioned he's in his peak years so a good move now could help him turn it around but he needs to be consistently playing and in a league better than Ligue Un.
 

tenpoless

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Still a very good player. Ronaldo and Messi were out of this planet and had the chance to go toe to toe against each other, playing at the biggest clubs in the same league. That pushed them further. Neymar has no such competition.
 
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He disappeared in France. Fans rarely watch 90 min games from him anymore and he has become a twitter highlights player.
Aye, can’t believe he or anyone in his entourage couldn’t see this. It wasn’t like he was earning buttons at Barça.
I’ve never watched a full PSG league game & never would. I have often watched Barca, Chelsea, Juve, Madrid, hell even City play utter shite teams.
France will never be that high profile so all he’s got now is youtube & the Champions League where he keeps getting injured at crunch time.
 

Invictus

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Neymar's biggest issue, and one that he has no control over, is that Messi is less than 5 years older than him and is performing at an exceptional level well into his 30s. That alone gives him a remarkably small window to dominate football narratives as the brightest performer/playmaker in the game by displacing the incumbent champion, has affected his broader legacy as he is being held to the almost unprecedented standards of consistent excellence set by Messi (and Cristiano), and also influenced his Barcelona stint/legacy because he was unlikely to ever be the “star of the show”...whereas Messi got the chance to be primo uomo of the attack at age 21 with Ronaldinho's decline and departure before evoking Cruyff as his spiritual successor under Guardiola.

Aside from that there are a few general factors...

A lot of people just don't like him and assess him harshly because of their emotions, even though he has been a Top 5 player in Europe or thereabouts pretty much since 2014-ish, so he has his work cut out for him — constantly on the backfoot and having to prove his innumerable detractors wrong, instead of riding the wave and reveling in the adulation that comes with being a top, top player.

Unfortunate with injuries...2014 was his chance to join the ranks of World Cup winning Seleção greats on his home turf and emerge as the new undisputed hero in Brazil, the script was written in the stars...until it wasn't, and you don't get many similarly pivotal moments in you career to add that extra bit of fairy dust to your resumé. Also missed a handful of key club football ties, which lingers in folks' memories and has wide ramifications in terms of establishing a narrative of disappointment.

The move to Paris Saint-Germain was probably a bit ill-conceived. The logic was to probably to lead Champions League minnows to the title — in contrast with Cristiano/Messi taking powerhouses to the summit (which would set him apart), but they have been tweaking the team in recent years and haven't been 100%. A lot can change in a few months and winning the competition this seasons would do wonders for his image, but in hindsight he would have benefited from a move to City in 2013 instead of Barcelona — could have been the face of the franchise under Guardiola (instead of playing second fiddle to Cristiano/Messi at Madrid/Barcelona), performed in a league that offers much more visibility than Ligue 1, existed with a bevy of stars in Agüero, Silva etc. but still been the top dog because of his talent, and maybe propelled them a step further in Europe (same effect as Paris Saint-Germain wrt. taking clubs that aren't part of the established order to the very top). Or maybe even Juventus, who were on the cusp for years and were/are desperate to improve their haul of just 2 European Cup titles in 9 finals...Neymar could have been the difference maker for them (a bit like Platini back in the day).

He's a profoundly gifted player and one of the best of the 21st century, but was honestly never going to properly challenge a cosmic-scale devourer like Messi as the best in the business because he's just not as good so the window for claiming the #1 spot in the post-Messi era would still be excruciatingly small, however he could have been held in higher regard if he was slightly luckier and joined clubs that would have given him a consistently better platform to shine.
 

fps

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Chose the easy option, ran away from proper football. I’ll remember him as a money obsessed egotistical coward.
 

RedRonaldo

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The thing is, Messi and Ronaldo didn't really wound down bad enough for him to catch up ahead yet, at the same time, younger and talented players like Mbappe keep knocking in behind him. Adding to that his injuries are really costing his progression.
 

MyOnlySolskjaer

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No he hasn’t. He’ll justify it if he wins a CL or 2.

It’s Mbappe that has really blown it, at least Neymar already had a great career at Barcelona, won leagues and champions leagues and part of one of the most devastating attacks in football history. Mbappe has sold his long term career to PSG.
 

KirkDuyt

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He's still brillaint, just not on the level of Messi or Ronaldo. Something he bas never been.