On Friday, Neymar is set to line up for Paris Saint-Germain for the 100th time since moving from Barcelona.
Montpellier will be the opponents as the Brazil international star hits the landmark for his third club, having played 186 times for Barcelona and 134 for Santos.
He arrived in Paris in the summer of 2017 with the promise of bringing the Champions League title to the Parc des Princes. It is a dream that Neymar has yet to fulfil, though he did come close in August as Bayern Munich edged PSG 1-0 in Lisbon.
Nevertheless, his statistics while in France remain formidable, and if he has not made good on the world record €222 million fee that the Parisians shelled out for him, that has been the work of injuries, which have restricted his performances significantly.
Neymar’s PSG statistics
Neymar at PSG
Of course, it has been going forward that Neymar has excelled. His efficiency in front of goal has been remarkable.
This is highlighted by his xG of 63 over that period – a figure he is outperforming by over 25%. This is courtesy of his unerring eye for finding the target: 199 of his 299 shots have worked the keeper.
By way of comparison, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 97 goals in domestic competition over the same period and has an xG of 96. Ronaldo, meanwhile, only finds the target with 59% of his shots that are not blocked.
Incidentally, Messi has 141 goals with an xG of 116 – still not as strong as Neymar’s in percentage terms.
|Shots on target||199|
But it has not just been an ability to score goals with PSG that makes Neymar the asset that he is: he has also created chances for others.
He has, for example, delivered 42 assists. Additionally, he has created 288 chances, made 172 accurate key passes and completed 848 dribbles with a success rate of 58%.
Again, these numbers mean little on their own, so to put them into some context, here are Ronaldo’s figures for comparison. The Portuguese great has fashioned 142 chances, completed 49 key passes and completed 266 dribbles with an identical success to Neymar.
These figures help to show just how incredible Neymar continues to be.
|Accurate key passes||172|
And all this is achieved in the toughest of circumstances.
Neymar is naturally a player targeted by opponents, and to some extent that explains why he has spent several prolonged periods on the sidelines at PSG.
In the three seasons he has completed at PSG, he has never been out of the top seven players most fouled in Europe’s top five leagues. This is absolutely remarkable given that the most number of league appearances he has made with the club in a single campaign is 20 – barely half.
That was the 2017/18 season, when he finished as Europe’s most fouled player, winning 147 free kicks in all competitions.
When this piece was written on January 20, he stood fifth in the charts for the current campaign, well on his way to surpassing his previous ‘best’.
Neymar the victim
|Season||Apps||Free kicks won|
His impact on the culture of the club, though, he been profound, and it is matched by his quality on the field, as the statistics above show.