In this article, we are going to examine the key playstyle differences between the two top dribblers in the world: Messi and Neymar.
Messi vs Neymar
At a glance, the two most technically proficient attacking midfielders in the world both excel in dividing the opposition and creating opportunities for their teammates. At the core of their game, however, Messi and Neymar are not as similar as you might think.
With his prime years slowly passing by, the legendary player from Argentina has chosen to adapt his swift playstyle to the limitations of his physique. Recently, he has become more strategic with his playstyle.
Meanwhile, Neymar reaps the benefits of a young age and brings his explosive energy to the field. Combined with exceptional talent and creative playstyle, it provides him with the flexibility for experimentation.
Compared to his younger ex-teammate, the dribbles of Messi are more effective. Moreover, he loses the ball much less than Neymar does. This is to show that Messi thinks carefully about what he does, only acting when he is sure of success.
One of the most valuable skills in the Midfielder’s repertoire is the ability to assist. Despite boasting an excellent ratio of key passes per game, Neymar is still losing to his Argentinian counterpart in this regard. Not only is Messi more accurate with his passes overall, but his long balls create an abundance of opportunities for his teammates.
Messi covers much less distance per game than Neymar. Given his age, he simply can’t afford it. However, quality is what matters here. While his distance metrics have gone down, Messi’s overall stats remained the same, making him more effective than Neymar.
Even though our comparison might be favoring Messi, the prowess of Neymar is unquestionable. Both players have reached the heights of excellence that only a few people in the world can compare to.
No doubt, Neymar will continue to improve and adapt – just like he did after transitioning from futsal to football. For now, Messi remains an example of how a smart approach creates long-term success.