Neymar's Goal Return Not Good Enough for Player of Barcelona Star's Quality

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 06:  Neymar of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match Between FC Barcelona and AC Milan at Camp Nou on November 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

It's not earth-shattering news to claim that Neymar's drop in goal return has been the most disappointing aspect of the Brazilian's Barcelona tenure thus far.

The 21-year-old continues to bring the same flair and creation to Gerardo Martino's side, but it's fair to say that it was the player's return of more than a goal every other game that ranked among his most tantalising attributes at Santos.

Neymar's relationship with Lionel Messi has been a well-chronicled part of early Barca life
Neymar's relationship with Lionel Messi has been a well-chronicled part of early Barca lifeDavid Ramos/Getty Images

Since moving to Catalan country, Neymar has scored five goals in 17 outings for Barca, has yet to net in Europe and is also waiting to score in consecutive games, consistency so far proving to be an obstacle.

What can be said of the youngster is that, mostly fielded out on the left wing, his creative assets have been superb. A return of nine assists in those 17 outings—not to mention having a direct hand in both his side's goals in his first El Clasico, a 2-1 win over Real Madrid—is food for thought to say the least.

But having said that, it would be a shame for a talent who clearly possesses so much more simply to settle when there's so much more ahead.

The main problem for Neymar was always going to be that, in the Brasileiro, he was the jewel, the crowning achievement.

Thing aren't the same at the Camp Nou and perhaps in Lionel Messi's injury, Neymar will get his chance to shine as a more central component, his goal tally rising as a result.

In recent seasons, Barca haven't relied on that one sole "striker," per se. Though Messi's scoring statistics are ridiculous, long gone are the days when Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto'o or even Thierry Henry would have been your more conventional targets up top.

La Blaugrana are now something more.

What's interesting is that, in the video above, Neymar lists Robinho as his idol, a player he resembles greatly in style and play. 

Robinho is another who was a sensation in his native Brazil and enjoyed his most prolific scoring days as a Santos youngster but then saw a dip when coming up against European defences.

The other factor worth weighing in with Neymar is that he's, of course, still adjusting to a new continent at a very young age and handling the task well at that.

With time comes familiarity and the truth is that even Martino will be learning what his best options are when it comes to strategy and line-up; Neymar is just one of the conundrums needing solving. 

Barca won't necessarily strive to change things just so that one player's goal tally might prosper at the risk of team performances dropping. The needs of the many are greater than those of the few, after all.

Therefore, it could be up to Neymar himself to ensure that his strike numbers see a bump, proving many of his early critics wrong.