Neymar's Brain on Auto-Pilot When He Plays Football, Say Japanese Neurologists

Mark PattersonUK Staff WriterJuly 25, 2014

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 12:  An injured Neymar of Brazil looks on from the bench during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Third Place Playoff match between Brazil and the Netherlands at Estadio Nacional on July 12, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Scientists in Japan have measured Neymar's brain activity while he plays football and have worked out that, compared to an amateur footballer, he uses 10 percent less cerebral function when he performs a task such as rotating his ankle.

The Brazil and Barcelona forward had his brain activity recorded during a session in February, and it was compared to those of footballers playing at a lower level in Spain, as well as several other athletes from different sports.

Their findings back up the theory that a player of Neymar's quality owes a great deal to instinct and playing naturally, with the brain almost on auto-pilot as he makes football decisions.

Researcher Eliichi Naito told AFP, via Yahoo! Sports: "From MRI images we discovered Neymar's brain activity to be less than 10 percent of an amateur player. It is possible genetics is a factor, aided by the type of training he does."

And Naito also added in an interview with Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbu: "Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows (the player) to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies."

Although neither were tested, Naito also added that he expected the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would register similar levels of brain activity as they play.

Neymar made an early impression at the 2014 World Cup with four goals, but a back injury in the quarter-finals ended his campaign early, and Brazil fell apart with heavy defeats to Germany and the Netherlands as the tournament reached its conclusion.  

[AFP, via Yahoo! Sports]