While Messi capped off 2016 with 59 goals for both club and country, his heir-apparent could only manage 29 – his worst return since 2009 when he scored 15 for Santos as a 17-year-old promising forward who recently broke into the first team.
The last time Neymar scored was in October against Manchester City. Since then, he has gone 9 games without finding the back of the net, and one is left to wonder what happened to the 24-year-old. It was a very good year for him in terms of the trophies though, as he won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Brazil’s first ever football Olympic gold.
In 2015, Neymar scored 46 goals. 2014 – 35 goals, 2013 – 37 goals, 2012 – 56 goals, 2011 – 40 goals and 2010 – 44 goals, but hitting a mere 29 might have been as a result of him playing the role of chance creator more (7 La Liga and Champions League assists each), while his wastefulness is also another reason considering he lost a couple of spot kicks for Barcelona.
As a prove of his decrease in effectiveness, Neymar’s 42% shot accuracy in the La Liga this term is way lower than his 57% of last season and 2014-15, and as well as the 56% he recorded in his debut season at Barcelona.
Would we witness a more lethal Neymar next year? Barcelona can do with a lot of that for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.