La Liga resumed after the international break on Saturday evening with both of the El Clasico duo of Real Madrid and Barcelona in action—meaning appearances for the world-leading trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Both Messi and Ronaldo would end up on the scoresheets in their respective ties, with Messi scoring his side's second goal in a 3-2 victory over Sevilla and Ronaldo doing likewise in a 2-2 draw with Villarreal.
However, it was Brazilian starlet Neymar who stole the show on this occasion.
Martino: "Neymar played a perfect game, he's working very hard for the team, also in defense. We're very happy for what he adds to the team"— barcastuff (@barcastuff) September 14, 2013
In the 21-year-old's second La Liga start, the Brazilian came to the fore for Barcelona to provide inspiration throughout the 90 minutes.
While Messi may have contributed a goal and an assist, he was generally sluggish on the night—especially in comparison with his effervescent junior colleague.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe gave this assessment of the Brazilian's performance:
Neymar was the best player on the pitch during Barcelona's nail-biting 3-2 victory over Sevilla at Camp Nou.
He consistently tormented los Rojiblancos' right-hand side, drawing six fouls in the first half alone and forcing Unai Emery to withdraw Stephane M'bia to avoid a red card.
On the ball he dazzled, rinsing Coke over and over again using trickery and pace in abundance. The right-back will take plaudits thanks to a 90th minute volleyed goal, but the truth is he had a torrid evening at the hands of the Brazilian.
Neymar recorded an assist for Messi's goal and would have grabbed a goal himself were it not for his extreme desire to feed his Argentine teammate with as many chances as possible.
Neymar has made it perfectly clear that he is happy to play second fiddle at Barcelona and, in his first few games, has almost gone out of his way to prove as much—as Tighe suggests.
However, his assist for Messi's goal and some sublime touches around the field were enough to allow his individual brilliance to shine through—albeit in a supporting role.
Messi took his goal well and, with Barcelona having been pegged back to 2-2 in the final minutes of the game, it was his delightful run that provided the opportunity for Alexis Sanchez to seal victory. Neymar was the constant threat, but it was Messi who ultimately proved decisive.
In El Madrigal, meanwhile, Real Madrid laboured to a draw with Villarreal despite goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and new signing Gareth Bale.
The Portuguese superstar was somewhat fortunate to get on the scoresheet, with his driven effort rebounding back off the defender onto his shin and over the despairing dive of Sergio Asenjo.
That moment aside, though, Ronaldo was profligate, placing a free header wide from 10 yards out and taking a total of eight shots—just two of which were on target.
With Bale making an immediate impact, turning home a sumptuous low cross from Daniel Carvajal, all eyes were on Ronaldo's showing. Yet he failed to perform to the standards that we have come to expect.
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His goal aside, new signing Bale did not enjoy the best of evenings. He misplaced more passes than one would normally expect in the 60 minutes he played, completing just 64 percent of all pass attempts, per WhoScored.
It will become easier as his nerves subside in the coming weeks, and an early goal will no doubt help. It would help greatly, though, if Ronaldo and his teammates could offer a similar platform to that which Neymar is receiving at the Camp Nou.
At the moment, the two sides are performing at different standards, and Neymar is the clear beneficiary.