How has Neymar’s presence at Barcelona affected Messi?

Messi Close Up

Lionel Messi had a disappointing 2013-14 season, but was it because of Neymar?

When Neymar arrived at Barcelona last summer, it was thought that it would usher in a new era of silverwares for the Spanish giants.

However, it created an unforeseen array of controversies, as president Sandro Rosell resigned to save face and the team finished the season trophy-less.

While the partnership between Lionel Messi and Neymar was expected to take Europe by storm, it actually made the former less effective.

Here are the stats comparing Messi before and after Neymar’s arrival.

Goals:

Messi scored 28 league goals this season following a staggering 46 he netted last terms. While goals don’t really fully explain how a team performs, they do still illustrate how a particular player has progressed. And in terms of this stat, the Argentine has come third in European Golden Boot race this season.

Chances created:

This season the role of Messi changed and, as the stats suggest, the Argentina international dropped deep to help his teammates. In contrast to 45 chances he created last campaign, this term he created 75 opportunities. So Neymar’s arrival has helped the Argentine in this case.

Man of the match awards:

It seemed almost certain that Messi would get this award every time Barca took to the pitch. However, his stars were on the low this term as he got 14 man-of-the-match awards compared to 20 he received last season in La Liga, While his goals and awards have dropped, it is the ‘shots per game’ area where the 26-year-old has improved.

Big game stats:

In nine matches that Barcelona played against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, the Argentine managed just four goals, with three of them coming in a single encounter. So in seven out of those nine matches, he failed to score, which is so unlike Messi.

Despite all the aforementioned stats, it should be kept in mind that this was Barcelona’s worst year since 2008. It was also Neymar’s first season in Spain, so arguably the world’s best player Messi will find a way to successfully play alongside the Brazilian next campaign.

Stats from whoscored.com and squawka.com

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