Andre Villas-Boas: Neymar Was Due to Succeed Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

TOPSHOT - Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar holds his right wrist as he attends a training session for the French L1 football club Paris Saint-Germain in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, on August 10, 2019. (Photo by Dominique FAGET / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas believes that prior to joining Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar was set to inherit the mantle of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 

Per Goal, Villas-Boas suggested, however, that the Brazilian has failed to reach new heights since his move from Barcelona.

The Portuguese said:

"He is an important player in the world of football. For me, it was the player who could succeed Ronaldo and Messi for the Ballon d'Or. But he did not recover all the qualities he had shown in Barcelona.

"For Ligue 1, it's not good if he leaves.

"This type of player has an important image in football, a bit like when Ronaldinho was here in Paris.

"There's this attractiveness, the football world wants to watch these kinds of players. I don't know what's going to happen, I can't comment on the separation because I'm not the PSG coach."

Between 2008 and 2017—the year Neymar joined PSG from Barca—the Ballon d'Or was shared between Ronaldo and Messi, with the pair winning five apiece.

Since his move to Paris, the forward has boasted some impressive numbers:

B/R Football @brfootball

Two years since Neymar's debut in French football—he's certainly made his mark 💥 https://t.co/GaHHz2swCe

However, an injury at the business end of the 2017-18 campaign limited his impact with PSG, while upon his return to action, he failed to get past the quarter-final stage of the FIFA World Cup with Brazil.

Luka Modric—who won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and reached the World Cup final with Croatia—broke Messi and Ronaldo's hold on the Ballon d'Or.

More injury concerns this year, which not only caused him to miss the key part of last season with PSG but also the Copa America with Brazil, give him no realistic hope of winning the gong this year.

Neymar has consequently spent much of the summer linked with a return to Barcelona.

There are pros and cons for the Catalan giants to consider when it comes to bringing him back, as sports writer Andy West observed:

Andy West @andywest01

Neymar is (obviously) a world class talent like few others. Second best in the world when he's fit and in the mood. But he's also a petulant and horribly advised manchild with fitness issues. Signing him is a massive massive gamble but with a potentially huge payoff.

If the 27-year-old can remain fit and firing for a full campaign, he would resume his status as a Ballon d'Or contender in Paris or Barcelona.

Neymar was left out of PSG's opening Ligue 1 game of the season on Sunday, though, and the club's supporters made their feelings on him known with chants and a banner calling for him to leave.

The player faces a long road back into their good graces, so a move elsewhere could be best for all parties.

He's still at a prime age, so if he can get his career back on track, he has plenty of time to win the award.