Spain La Liga

Messi injury update: Is Neymar Leo's helper or challenger at Barcelona?

August 23 2013 By Abdullah Zubair
Following an injury, Lionel Messi is set to miss out on Barcelona’s La Liga encounter with Malaga which means that Neymar might get his chance of making his first start for the Catalan giants

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Everyone who is concerned with the affairs at Barcelona is fully aware of the fact that Lionel Messi is absolutely vital to the club’s chances of success or failure. For the last four years, the Argentine international has been the arguably best player in the world. His goal scoring record speaks for itself. Moreover, the player is the lynchpin for his team’s attack.

Although Barca boast the likes of Pedro, Alexis Sanchez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and others who score frequently enough as well but when their talismanic teammate is not around, the whole team appears a toothless version of themselves. Now that he is injured, Barcelona will definitely be feeling a bit intimidated ahead of the game against Malaga who despite their numerous issues, are still a good team.

Although Messi would not want to sit this one out, Tata Martino has rightly decided to give his star man some rest so that he is able to fully recover from the thigh strain. Now, it is time for summer signing Neymar to show the whole world why it was so important for the club to lure him in such expensive fashion to Camp Nou.

The Brazil international is yet to make his first start for the Catalan club but it appears that he is in line for it. All summer long, a lot has been said about what role Neymar will play for his new team. At Santos, he was the centre of attention in every context but this will not be the case at Barca where it is Messi who has a claim to the throne.

However, Neymar proved his worth during his side’s Super Cup draw with Atletico Madrid in midweek. When Messi had gone off, Fabregas and Neymar were introduced in the game the latter looked very sharp and even scored his first competitive goal for his side with a great header. That performance should give Martino confidence that he does not necessarily have to over rely on Messi throughout the campaign.

Though it’s still early days, whenever he has taken the field, Neymar has proven to be worthy of his price tag. Moreover, Neymar is oozing with confidence and also has no issues with playing second fiddle to the Argentine maestro which indicates that the youngster is willing to sacrifice personal glory if it makes the team better.

With the way this Barcelona side has been set up, Neymar will never be a challenger to Lionel Messi – at least not until the Argentine forgets how to score goals which does not seem likely to be the case for the next few years. However, it is only natural for a player to go through periods of frustration during which goals are hard to come by. If that is the case, then it would be Neymar’s chance to shift the balance of power within the squad and that is something that has happened before (Ronaldinho – Eto’o – Messi).

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