PSG Neymar vs Barcelona Neymar: The Stats

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 21:50 BST 3 min read
PSG Neymar vs Barcelona Neymar: The Stats

In the summer of 2017 Paris Saint-Germain sent shockwaves through world football when they paid £200m [€222million] to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

The Brazilian was part of one of the most devastating forward trios the game has seen alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, but keen to become the figurehead of a club away from the shadows of his South American compatriots, he agreed to join PSG, naturally with a significantly boosted income sweetening the deal.

But, how has his game adapted or changed since the move to Paris? Has it changed at all?

Neymar: Last two seasons at Barcelona

Big Chances Created1618
Shots P903.73.3
Dribbles P904.25.7
Final Third Passes P9032.232.2
Ball Recoveries P903.34.3
Crosses P903.76.8
In all competitions, via FootballCritic

Although certainly not individualistic in 2015/16, Neymar’s game developed into a more creative player between 2015/16 and 2016/17, with the amount of goals scored himself dropping, but his number of assists increasing.

His attempts to set up team-mates also improved from 16 Big Chances Created to 18.

Though he did attempt more dribbles, they were successful dribbles. He also took less shots in his final season at Barca.

His increased creativity is also highlighted by his successful crosses, which boosted from 3.7 to 6.8 per 90 minutes.

The Brazilian arguably worked harder for the team, too, as displayed by his increase in ball recoveries.

Neymar: First three seasons at PSG

With Neymar no longer needing to share the spotlight with Messi and Suarez, although he would need to with Kylian Mbappe, he reverted back to his goalscoring efforts ahead of his assists. From his last season at Barcelona to his first at PSG, there is a slight decline in assists and a big increase in goalscoring.

Big Chances Created282014
Shots P904.43.74.2
Dribbles P907.24.95.6
Final Third Passes P9035.831.630.1
Ball Recoveries P904.43.84.3
Crosses P903.93.63.8
In all competitions, via FootballCritic

By every metric shown above, Neymar’s first season at PSG was the best. He scored more, created more, had the ball more, and passed more.

The middle season took a dip, and this coincided with Neymar being missing with injury for PSG’s infamous loss against Man Utd in the last-16 of the Champions League.

Things appeared to be on the up for the former Barca winger last season, but the campaign was cut short domestically in France due to the coronavirus crisis.

Messi and Neymar

Following PSG’s win against Man Utd in the Champions League this week, Neymar revealed a dream to once again play with Lionel Messi next season.

It naturally catalysed plenty of speculation as to where that would actually be. PSG? Barca? Man City?

While at PSG Neymar has developed into more of a goalscorer than a creator, Messi has went in the other direction, as although his tallies are still hugely impressive, he is breaking assists records in Spain.

Last season he recorded 24 in all competitions.

At Neymar’s time at Barcelona, he acted as Messi’s right-hand man in terms of creativity. If the two were ever to play again together, could the roles be switched so that the Brazilian is the main man?