Brazil is cruising through Group A with seven goals and six points from their opening two fixtures. Argentina on the other hand is sharing the spoils with Chile at the top in Group B. They are done with the toughest fixtures in the group, but two goals are by no means on par with their standards. Thus, comparisons between the two biggest stars in Neymar and Messi is unavoidable.
THE OPENING TWO FIXTURES
Lionel Messi scored a sensational free-kick to take the lead against Chile in their opening fixture. La Albiceleste had unfinished business against the Chileans but they once again came up short, managing only a draw. If not for Messi, the game could have gone the wrong way for the Argentinians.
Neymar on the other hand had a comfortable time in their fixture against Venezuela. A team that was handicapped by covid had to bring in reinforcements overnight. Brazil could have easily scored more than three goals on the night if not for poor finishing. Neymar was the star of the show, scoring one and assisting another in an all attack Brazilian side.
In the second fixture against Uruguay, it was a lovely cross from the No.10 that won the match for Argentina. Guido Rodriguez had the easy job of guiding the ball into the net from a pinpoint cross. Messi remained the biggest threat on the night but could not find a route to the goal.
Brazil’s second fixture was even more emphatic than their first. A four-goal thumping against Peru took them top of the table by a clear margin. Neymar was once again the star of the show, scoring a goal and architecting numerous chances in the build-up. His eccentric skills and showboating were once again visible and he bossed the proceedings.
NEYMAR MAKES HIS PRESENCE KNOWN
After missing out on the last two Copa America finals, the Brazilian forward was keen to make his presence known. The defending champions lifted the trophy without Neymar and so many had concluded that Brazil did not need their most talented forward. Some even suggested Neymar was more of a hindrance rather than a positive influence.
However, the PSG forward has started working his magic in the tournament, shutting down all those who doubted him. He has proved his worth with two magnificent performances and has been the instigator in Brazil’s line-up. A superstar among the many Brazilian stars.
CUÁNTA MAGIA 🎩
QUANTA MAGIA 🎩
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 19, 2021
The scary part is, Neymar seems to have not clicked into full gear till now. He has already showcased his talent with some scintillating dribbles and cunning deliveries. If not for Brazil’s poor finishing, Neymar would have already bagged more assists than anyone in the competition.
Beating players at will and driving through crowded legs, Neymar makes it looks like child’s play. Defenders often bring him down as they are left with no other choice. Often swarmed by men, the No.10 uses his presence to draw defenders to him, to release players that run into the space created. The Brazilian is outshining every player in the tournament, or so it seems!
NO ONE’S BETTER THAN THE G.O.A.T
One of football’s biggest ironies in football is Messi’s lack of international trophies. Despite being celebrated as one of, if not the greatest footballer of all time, La Pulga is unable to win a major trophy with his national team. The Little Magician is often on the receiving end of finals, although he carried them there. A successive loss against Chile in 2015 and 2016 Copa America is the height of their failures.
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 19, 2021
This season, like always, it will be all up to the Barcelona forward to guide them to the silverware. Yet, after two games, it seems like he hasn’t made the sort of impact that was expected. At least not at the level Neymar Jr. is making. So, the inevitable comparisons between the two have already surfaced. Is Neymar in the same league as the six time Ballon d’Or winner?
The definitive answer would be NO! Messi’s influence over a team is simply far too great than his former teammates. Two games of brilliance are simply not going to change that. Every player in Messi’s team is often playing under the little man’s shadow! The very reason why Neymar left Barcelona. To prove himself. To be relieved from the shadow forever!!
Neymar may be bossing proceedings at the moment, but Messi is bound to pop up to his brilliant best sooner or later. The two teams might end up playing each other somewhere down the line in the tournament and this might be an important marker for comparisons.
Messi’s years at the top of world football is simply too consistent to be faded away by a brilliant run in a competition. Neymar Jr’s samba will have to do better to be regarded at par with Messi!!