Was the el clasico Neymar’s best Barca performance?
Luis Suarez scored a brace, Lionel Messi scored two and Neymar unfortunately missed a penalty. Taking a look at the top-line stat you could be forgiven for assuming that the Brazilian had a rather poor game. That would perhaps be a mistake, however, his 90-minute presence in Barcelona’s 6-1 demolition of Roma – perhaps his finest contribution in a Barca shirt to date.
Yes, his penalty was a little reckless and his experiments with a new pattern of taking spot kicks have yet to be fruitful, but somehow his game is better than ever.
His through ball to Alves, who then set up Luis Suarez for the first goal, was straight out of the gamemakers’ handbook. His spectacular dribble and one-twos got Barca going for the second goal . It was his fabulous cross which was eventually dispatched home by Suarez for the third.
He cut in smartly from the right and exchanged swift passes with Suarez before Messi set up Gerard Pique for the fourth. His fantastic piece of control made Suarez setting up Messi’s second and Barca’s fifth while he himself won the penalty the rebound from which Adriano promptly profited.
“It’s very good for the team to have them up front,” coach Luis Enrique exclaimed of his front three later. “They make our entire team better.”
Neymar conjured his magic all over this game but was, probably, too far at the back in the moves for all the goals to make the spotlight. Nonetheless, he was sensational in the ‘pass before the pass’; out of the limelight but always allowing Messi and Suarez to gorge themselves.
Gone is the exotic hairstyle and the moments of provocation that once featured this young “crack” who seemed destined for greatness since emerging as a teenager. He is now letting his feet do the talking.