Neymar completed his 100 goals for FC Barcelona after he scored the team's 4th goal in the 4-1 win over Granada. The goal was his 9th in the LaLiga this season to go with 10 assists. Neymar has been in stunning form in recent weeks and has kept Barcelona in the hunt for the treble. While he is definitely amongst the top 5 players in the world, his performances have led people to believe that he is on the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
— The Catalan Giant (@TheCataIanGiant) April 3, 2017
Neymar is only 25 years of age and to be compared to the two stalwarts of world football is no mean feat. The Brazilian had a relatively poor start to his Barcelona career, but has since come of age and is an integral member of the most feared attacking trio in the world alongside Leo Messi and Luis Suarez. While Messi still delivers with goals and assists, and more often than not comes up with match-winning performances, it is Neymar who makes that darting runs and brings more directness to the Barcelona team.
Lionel Messi has scored 25 goals this season in the La Liga, Suarez has 23, but it is Neymar who has become the heartbeat of this Barcelona team, and while he has only 9 goals, his overall contribution is something that never goes unnoticed. Neymar scored 39 goals in the treble winning 13-14 season, and added a further 31 the next season. Neymar hasn't scored the same amount of goals this season, but has contributed more to the build up play of Barcelona and has been as important as Lionel Messi, if not more.
Goals at 25 years old:
Neymar – 304
Messi – 295
Rooney – 197
C.Ronaldo – 189
Ronaldinho – 155
Who is your favourite? ????????
— 8Funny Football (@8funny_football) March 28, 2017
Neymar has himself said that this season is the best one of his career. While his stats may not suggest so – 15 goals in 36 games, he has been the main creative force and has the most no. of assists (19) in Europe's top 5 leagues. He has been badly missed by Barcelona in games he has been absent in, which was evident in the 2-1 defeat to Deportivo La Coruna where he was injured. When Barcelona completed the greatest ever comeback in the history of the Champions League, it was Neymar who stole the show and inspired Barcelona after Edinson Cavani scored the all-important away goal.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the Ballon d'Or for the past 9 years, but it might just be Neymar this time around. Messi is 29, whereas Ronaldo is 32, and both will be past their prime in a few years from now. Expect the Brazilian to dominate world football for many many years to come. And his performances also led to manager Luis Enrique saying –
'He has numbers [which show he is] a beast of a footballer, he's one of the most unbalancing players in the world [for opposition defences] and his signing by this club was a great decision.I hope he scores another 900 goals, so we can keep seeing him at Barcelona for many more years,' he said.
And while 900 goals would be too much, for Neymar, only the sky is the limit.