Neymar Finally Lands in La Liga After Fantastic El Clasico Debut
When Neymar decided to take his young Brazilian talents to Barcelona this summer, one full year before the 2014 World Cup, hopes and expectations were high. There were fears that he may struggle to adapt to the Spanish La Liga, and that the big European games may be too much for him to really stand out it. Well, all those fears were quashed on Saturday after a stellar performance by Neymar in this season’s first El Clasico.
Barcelona was able to defeat Real Madrid 2-1, thanks in large part to the Brazilian striker. Early in the game, Neymar lurked smartly in on the edge of the penalty box and received a smart pass from Iniesta. From a tight angle with the ball, Neymar blasted away and watched the ball deflect off of a defender and right into the corner of the goal.
Later, he turned into provider as he sent a long pass right down the middle of the field for Alexis Sanchez, who made a brilliant chip to beat the goalie and seal the win. As El Clasico is the major match in Spanish soccer, this was the game that the analysts were going to use in which to judge Neymar. This budding superstar is supposed to be the next major player for Brazil, especially at the World Cup they are hosting next summer. Neymar could be the next Ronaldo, or Pele.
But in order to do so he must first thrive in the big game. Saturday’s performance was exactly that. Neymar’s stats have been decent so far this year, and his 5 assists through the first 8 games of the season was good, but the fans want goals. Neymar had scored just 2. But with a goal and an assist against Real Madrid, he proved that he can make an impact in the major match!
Contrastingly, the big-money player Gareth Bale struggled mightily throughout the game. Long in the past seem his Tottenham days of firing in glorious 30-yard shots. Bale tried two such shots in this match and they sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. He was taken off in the 60th minute. Meanwhile Cristiano Ronaldo danced about the field but never really threatened until his assist in stoppage time. It was too little too late, which just about sums up Ronaldo’s experiences since he has been at the powerhouse club.
People have wondered how Lionel Messi would be able to handle another impact player like Neymar at Barcelona. The results have been magnificent. Clearly, both the Brazilian and the Argentinean have been able to coexist just fine in the same lineup and it seems to be due to their ability to really play well as teammates. While Ronaldo and Bale have both gained fame for personal moments of brilliance, Neymar and Messi have been the part of brilliant team goals (while also orchestrating their own moments of genius), and that is why Barcelona won this game. It looks as if Neymar is settling into Spanish soccer just fine!