How good will Neymar be?
My next article will be on Maicon, but we all know it’s probably going to be awhile before I get that posted. So in the meantime, let’s have a quick poll:
Just how good will Neymar be?
Neymar is currently in the greatest form he’s ever displayed for the national team. Since the start of the Confederations Cup (and getting the #10 shirt), he’s played 8 matches, scoring 6 goals and contributing 5 assists. Probably his only below-par match during this run was against Uruguay, and even then he assisted Paulinho’s header in the dying moments to secure the victory. (Not to mention playing a part in Fred’s initial goal.)
All told, Neymar has 26 goals and 17 assists for the senior national team in 42 appearances. In terms of goals, this times him with his immediate predecessor, Robinho, and the legendary Rivelino. While it took Robinho and Rivelino 90 and 92 matches, respectively, to accumulate as many goals, Neymar has done it far quicker. (In fairness to Rivelino, he was a midfielder, and scoring goals was not his primary role.)
Next up on the list are:
Adriano – 27 goals in 48 matches (boy was Adriano good for a three-year stretch)
Fabiano – 28 goals in 45 matches (superb strike rate, and the majority of these were in competitive matches, too)
Kaka – 29 goals in 87 matches
Once he breaks the 30 goal plateau, he’ll be in rarefied company. And he’s still only 21.
Of course, stats are all well and good, but at the end of day it’s World Cups (and to a lesser extent, the Copa America) that really count. But thus far in his young career, only two men have scored more goals at a faster rate (post 1938) and at a younger age than Neymar:
Ronaldo: 29 goals in 44 matches before he turned 22
Pele: 27 goals in a staggering 25 matches BEFORE he turned 21
When the only people you’re statistically behind are the 2 greatest Brazilians of all time, you can feel pretty good about where you’re going.
So where IS Neymar going? What will he end up becoming? Obviously nobody knows, but just for fun, let’s get a sense of the room. Vote below as to how many goals you think Neymar will end up with by the time he retires from the national team…and then vote where in the list of Brazilian greats you’ll think he’ll eventually belong.
(By the way, the names above are just my own personal rankings. Obviously you can use your own mental list when voting.)
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