He participated in less plays, he tried less shots, he lost more balls and missed more take-ons
With Messi’s absence, Neymar is called to be the natural leader of the group in his third season in Barcelona and for being the most skillful player in the squad. In the match vs Leverkusen everyone was watching him. However, he didn’t shine.
Neymar wasn’t Messi. This can be seen in stats and also in the feelings during the match. He had problems to participate and he only appeared in the final part of the first half. In the second half he didn’t have luck when shooting and didn’t participate in any of the two goals.
If we take a look at Weloba Analytics and Opta Stats, we see that Neymar was far from Messi’s performance. We have compared data of Neymar vs Leverkusen with Messi vs Roma. Neymar participated in less plays, tried less shots, lost more balls and missed more take-ons.
Suárez had better numbers
In fact, the player who is taking Messi’s role is Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan scored two goals against Las Palmas and the second versus Bayer Leverkusen. Without a brilliant and beautiful style, Luis Suárez stands out for his accuracy, something Neymar lacks.
The 23-year-old Brazilian offered an irregular performance this season, with no continuity. He missed the beginning of the season due to mumps and we still haven’t seen his best version. Next Saturday against Sevilla, he will have a great chance to show he can be the star of the team when Messi is not there. He can also win the honor to be the second best-paid player in the squad.