(Genoa, Padova and Milan)
Total club career goals (appearances): 31 (94)
Scoring rate: a goal every three games
Notable achievements: 2011 Serie B Player of the Year, 2012 Serie A Young Player of the Year, youngest Milan scorer in the history of the Champions League aged 19 years and 342 days (v Zenit St Petersburg, Oct 2012) and current Milan top scorer this season with 15 in 24 league games
Total club career goals (appearances): 129 (209)
Scoring rate: a goal every 1.6 games
Notable achievements: 2011 and 2012 South American Footballer of the Year, the former by a record margin when aged just 19
Hard to make an exact comparison here in terms of what the two players have achieved domestically as El Shaarawy has played his whole career in the most exacting league in the world for a forward, while Neymar has been operating in the more porous environments of the Brasileirao and the Campeonato Paulista, with neither hardly known for their defensive solidity, which would partly explain their vastly different scoring rates.
What one can say for certainty is that those in charge of transfers at the San Siro, namely vice-president Adriano Galliani, must think El Shaarawy has bucketloads of potential, otherwise they would not have sold their jewel in the crown, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to Paris Saint-Germain last summer and then based their future attack around this young thoroughbred by then offering the forward a new contract (via Fifa.com).
Remember also that this is the Rossoneri we are talking about here, who are famed for their reliance and trust in the OAP footballer, and the way in which their 20-year-old striker has responded to that burden being placed on his young shoulders this season by showing immense maturity to lead their attack, especially following Milan’s woeful start to their campaign, bodes well for the player’s long-term future and development.
Meanwhile for Neymar, there is now nothing left for him to achieve domestically back in his homeland, having inspired Santos to the 2011 Copa Libertadores (via ESPN) with six goals in 13 matches, as well as winning the 2010 Copa do Brasil and a hat-trick of Campeonato Paulista titles in succession (2010-12) along the way.
However, with each new Goal of the Year contender that he scores in South America, the question keeps arising: But can he produce such scintillating form against unforgiving European defences?
And until Neymar makes that long-awaited move to the Continent, judging his potential domestically is no easy task.