Lionel Messi Will Benefit from Neymar's Presence in Barcelona Lineup

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 31, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the Copa del Rey Semi Final second leg between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at Camp Nou on February 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is a world-class talent who is widely regarded as the greatest football player on the planet today. With another electric forward playing alongside him at Camp Nou, the Argentine superstar is poised to construct another convincing argument next season.

21-year-old Brazilian sensation Neymar transferred from local club Santos to Barcelona just days ago, but it's already believed by many that the new striking tandem makes Barca the team to beat in Europe in 2013-14. 

And it's no surprise why. 

The 2012-13 Spanish Primera Division champions already boast a lethal scorer in Messi, who has netted a ridiculous 60 goals in 50 appearances for Barcelona heading into the club's season finale against Malaga on Saturday.

Now, in Neymar, the Spanish powerhouse possesses another versatile scoring threat who is capable of attacking and creating from the middle of the pitch or out wide.

Like Messi, Neymar is a wizard with the ball at his feet and has an unrivaled nose for goal, scoring 29 goals in 31 starts for Santos this season. 

While many would argue that having both Messi and Neymar on the field at the same time could potentially hamper Barcelona's attack, there's no denying that a lineup that includes both players would ultimately force opposing defenses to pick their poison. 

Sure, each player will have to adjust to the other early on and perhaps play slightly out of position. But in time, Messi—a four-time world player of the year—will become even more of an attacking threat with Neymar at his side and vice versa.

Beyond scorers, both Messi and Neymar are creators. Weapons. The addition of the younger Neymar means that Barca is deeper up front in case of injury. 

The criticism that Barcelona was a one-man squad following its brutal defeat to Bayern Munich in this year's UEFA Champions League semifinal was fair at the time, but has clearly been addressed.

Neymar has much more to prove before he can be elevated to Messi's level, but the potential he brings to the table has to leave Leo grinning from ear to ear.

Messi now has help at the top of the Barca lineup, and while the pressure is still on him to deliver, at least he has an extra pair of shoulders to help him carry the burden. 


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