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Jordi Alba Says It Is 'Better' for Him Playing Without Neymar at Barcelona

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2017

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 04:  Neymar of Barcelona celebrates with Jordi Alba after scoring their second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou on March 4, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Jordi Alba has said it is "much better" for him to play at Barcelona without Neymar.

He told Mundo Deportivo (h/t Marca): "I now have more space to run into and, sincerely, it is much better for me [without Neymar]."

Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and arrived in the French capital in a world-record €222 million transfer.

Alba stopped short of criticising the Brazilian, though, adding: "He is a great player, who decided to leave because of his circumstances, feelings or thoughts. Yet many more people who can do a good job have stayed and I'm happy with those who are here."

The left-back has been much-improved since Neymar's departure, though, so he has a point.

Without the Brazil star operating as the team's creative and attacking outlet on the left flank, Alba has more opportunity to contribute himself when getting forward.

Indeed, he has already created 15 chances in La Liga, having made just 23 in the whole of last season, and he's only two shy of last year's assist tally of six, per Squawka.

His freedom to get forward has allowed his own chemistry with Lionel Messi to develop, and all four of his assists this year have been for the Argentinian.

Barca have been a force to be reckoned with as a team, too, per OptaJose:

OptaJose @OptaJose

31 pts - Barcelona have equaled their best start after the first 11 games of a La Liga season (31 points, 2012/13 and 2013/14). Optimism. https://t.co/dLhuwBMiRT

In enjoying such a strong start to their campaign, the club have defied the expectation they'd struggle in the wake of Neymar's departure:

B/R Football @brfootball

August: ‘Barcelona are a crisis club.’ Barcelona today: https://t.co/pne8n48hAX

The team still have a lot of room to improve despite dropping just two points thus far. Luis Suarez has been particularly disappointing this year and has just three goals to his name, while the squad also lacks quality and depth in certain areas.

However, they're so far coping much better than could be expected after the departure of one of their key players and the poor form of another, and Alba certainly appears to be revitalised, so there's plenty to be positive about.

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