Neymar's Relationship with Lionel Messi Will Be Key to Barcelona's Campaign
By pairing Brazilian superstar Neymar with longtime Barcelona hero Lionel Messi, Gerardo Martino made the La Liga power an instant Champions League favorite.
He also set up a potential power struggle that could turn out to be a massive waste of money.
There's no doubting the blinding amount of star power that both forwards possess. Messi's talent is undeniable. He's considered by many as the best in the world and is only equaled by Cristiano Ronaldo (maybe).
Neymar is undoubtedly the best young player in the game. At 21 years old, he's already a highly productive player at the both the club and international level. But the move doesn't come without questions.
With so much success at such a young age. Neymar has rarely been forced to be the second option on his club. He's used to being the unquestioned superstar. That won't be the case with a transcendent talent like Messi's on the pitch for Barcelona.
That's why the relationship between the two stars will be pivotal as Barca begins its campaign to rack up as many trophies as possible.
From the outset, things appear to be headed in the right direction. According to Neymar himself, via Oliver Brown of The Telegraph, the two are off to a good start. He told Brown, “My relationship with Messi is marvellous...I talk to him every day and can assure you there will be no problem. He is the best player in the world – I am here to help.”
This has to be great news for Barca fans. If Neymar can apply that humble attitude to the pitch, the Barcelona attack will be nearly unstoppable. While it may take a while for him to adjust to being a secondary scoring option, the benefits of playing alongside Messi outweigh the drawback of the smaller spotlight.
How many goals will Neymar score this season?
For one, he'll still have the opportunity to score plenty of goals. Now-departed David Villa found the net 14 times for Barca last season while Messi tallied 60. With Neymar's abilities exceeding Villa's it stands to reason that he should at least get to that mark if not surpass it.
In the long run, playing alongside an all-time great like Messi will make him an even more dangerous player. No one would be a better mentor for the young Brazilian as he learns the ins and outs of leading a European power.
The only question that remains is whether or not he will keep those positives in mind when the club actually starts playing matches.
Considering his remarks about playing with Messi thus far heading into the season and his record of success on a star-studded Brazilian national team, the smart money is on the partnership working out. That's bad news for the rest of the European elite.
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