Neymar Theatrics Shine Again As Barca Beat Celtic


Celtic suffered back to back defeats in the Champions League as Barcelona arrived at Celtic Park and departed with three points, though not the easiest they have ever earned. Celtic were unlucky in some ways – Charlie Mulgrew’s header had Victor Valdes beaten in the Barcelona goal, but the Celtic man just couldn’t find the net. Moments later, Cesc Fabregas had put the ball beyond Fraser Foster down the other end with a beautiful header across the face of Celtic’s goal to snatch the three points. In the end, some poorly executed passing and ideas, coupled with indiscipline on the part of Scott Brown, led to the Scottish side’s defeat, and fans will be left feeling they might have had something from the game if things had gone differently.

Much was made of Lionel Messi’s absence from the team, as many wondered if Barcelona would be as penetrating and as devastating as they usually are when their number 10 is on the pitch and on form. This was Neymar’s night to shine and while there were flashes of brilliance, overall his performance didn’t quite reach the mark. Neymar is a great young talent, and an exciting prospect for the future, considering the fact that he’s only 21. But there’s still a disappointing side to the young Brazilian.

Diving, play acting and making a meal of things is something football fans have become used to, if not quite accepted just yet. And Neymar is no different, as we saw against Celtic tonight. A slight clash of heads with Virgil Van Dijk in the first saw him rolling around as though his skin had been grazed with a bullet, even coming off the pitch for a few minutes to have his ego treated. The clash with Scott Brown early in the second half is just another example. Brown was clearly in the wrong, and certainly deserved his red card for a frankly stupid kick-out at the youngster. Still, Neymar’s reaction , which wouldn’t look out of place on a battlefield , was once again over the top by a length or two.

It’s hard to blame the lad in one way. They say he had been fouled three times as much as Messi, and he’s undoubtedly tired of the little kicks and shoves, but it’s grating to see the overreaction all the same. We want the bright young lights of football to be a cut above the rest, in every aspect. Messi, for example, is one of the best examples of this, taking the tackles and getting straight back up again without a fuss. Can you picture the Argentinian rolling around on the pitch, squealing? (He’s no saint, and isn’t averse to a spot of dodginess, but it isn’t an ongoing thing, unlike some).

It’s not something Neymar needs to do, more often than not the fouls on him are fairly clear cut, defenders beaten by his lightning pace are forced to chop him down. And yet it’s something he feels he has to do anyway, for whatever reason. It’s not to single out Neymar, there are plenty more players , both on the Barcelona team and across football, who react in the same irritating, piteous and overall embarrassing manner. Still, if Neymar wants to take the next step up, it’s something he’ll have to address. Neymar is already one of the world’s greatest prospects. If he wants to be remembered long after he’s left, however, he could do with addressing the more theatrical side of his game.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport

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