Examining Neymar's Top Obstacles at Barcelona for Remainder of 2013

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 26:  Neymar of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on October 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Signed as one of, if not the biggest South American prospect in recent memory, Neymar was always going to shoulder a great deal of pressure upon moving to Barcelona.

The €57 million fee paid for his signature alone is reason for the Brazilian to feel a weight of expectation in coming to Camp Nou, but one would find it hard to argue that he's been anything but impressive in his first four months in Spain.

That being said, one might come to ask more of a player billed as the future of his nation's football hopes, and a number of factors threaten to hold Barca's newest starlet back unless he can check them off his 2013 list.

Regardless of how brilliant they may be, it's only natural that we come to ask more and more of our biggest stars, and Neymar is no different.


Minutes Management

Neymar continues to dazzle as part of Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil.
Neymar continues to dazzle as part of Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil.

One aspect of moving to European football that can often be the undoing of talents from outside the continent is a change in playing schedule. More specifically, an increase in playing time is noticeable, especially when at a top club competing across multiple competitions.

Playing on a week-by-week basis in the league, with a European schedule mixed in with domestic cup competitions and the odd national team commitments all make for a very busy Neymar in the coming two months.

It's something he may not have been quite as used to in his native country, the Brasileiro Serie A and Copa Libertadores only demanding 45 games or so in a calendar year, and even that's dependent on how far one goes in competition.

Already, the youngster will have begun to notice what's now being demanded of him, but the colder winter months should make the tight fixture list all the more tiresome.


Cracking Europe

In his first 10 La Liga appearances, Neymar is currently averaging a direct influence in one goal per game, scoring three himself and assisting another seven.

Neymar vs. Milan
Neymar vs. MilanDavid Ramos/Getty Images

However, it's in the Champions League that the forward is still suffering in front of goal and is yet to find the back of the net in his club's four group outings, despite starting in all of them.

It won't necessarily be a massive concern to his peers, who will be confident that the starlet will come good eventually, but succeeding in Europe is a proving ground for players in Neymar's circumstance, and immediate impact will certainly be preferred to a laboured touch.


Reviving the Santos Touch

In more general terms, what audiences may come to expect from Neymar in more quantity is quite simple: goals.

At Santos, he managed a scoring average of well over one every other game, and without delving too far into the defensive differences between Spain and Brazil, he's currently only scoring once every four games in Barcelona.

It may not be ideal, but when such exorbitant fees are paid for a player, one would like to expect results in a swift manner.

One aspect of Neymar's early Barca career has been that the attacker is happy to play in the shadow of Lionel Messi, but that doesn't necessarily mean both can't shine.