clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why Neymar's form threatens Real Madrid

Neymar has kicked-off his second season with FC Barcelona in productive fashion and will start El Clásico on the heels of scoring against Ajax in the Champions League and Eibar in La Liga. After experiencing a good-not-great debut season, Neymar appears to have found his form and will present a headache for Real Madrid's back line in the upcoming Clásico.

Denis Doyle

Disclaimer: This article is not a comparison piece between Neymar and Gareth Bale, nor is it an investigative journalist's expose on Neymar's transfer from Santos to Barcelona. The purpose of this post is to briefly examine why Neymar has been more prolific in his second season with the Catalan giants.

So far this season, Neymar has scored ten goals across all competitions and will surely surpass the fifteen goals he bagged for Barcelona last season. While always a consistent scorer for his national side, the Brazilian starlet seemed unsure of whether to play the part of playmaker or scorer in his debut season with Barça.

As a modern winger-forward in the vein of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, Neymar is neither a classic striker nor a classic winger, and Tata Martino's insistence on deploying him as a right-winger last year inhibited his tendency to cut inside and shoot from the left side. Under new manager Luis Enrique, Neymar has started as a left forward in a 4-3-3 formation featuring Messi in the middle and Pedro (enter: Luis Suarez) on the right. The shift to the left wing has allowed Neymar to play the same position for Barcelona as he does for Brazil--one demanding a greater emphasis on scoring and placing defenders under pressure with his quick feet and pace.

Another factor triggering Neymar's increased scoring this season stems from his improved chemistry with Lionel Messi. The tandem have scored 19 of Barcelona's 27 goals this season, with Messi feeding Neymar on five of the Brazilian's ten goals so far. Madrid's defenders will need to avoid committing too many bodies to Messi during one his trademark drives down the middle as those situations open up wide lanes where Neymar can then sprint toward goal and receive a simple layoff from his Argentine idol.

Neymar's form has been on display at the international level, too. During Brazil's recent rout of Japan, the newly-appointed captain scored all four goals in a clinical 4-0 demolition of Javier Aguirre's side. There's no doubt Neymar understands his importance to the Brazilian national team (and spots that team's over-reliance on his talents), and his impressive numbers with the Canarinha must only be feeding him with confidence to transpose that scoring prowess to his club side (Neymar is already Brazil's fifth-highest scorer at 22 years old).

An in-form Neymar is a danger to Real Madrid, and there's no doubt that Neymar is very much in-form at present moment. The wunderkind has evolved into a talisman for country and a goalscorer for club, and after exiting the World Cup in unfortunate fashion due to injury, be prepared to see a hungry Neymar attempt to put the moves on Real Madrid in one of the most watched contests in professional sports: El Clásico.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid