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Neymar, Messi will light up football


It does not happen often that three of the four best players in the world play in the same football club at the same time. For that reason the world cannot wait for the resumption of the Spanish La Liga.

One of the most anticipated events in European football history is about to take place. South America’s current best player has joined the team that already has two of the world’s current three best players to add to the firepower of a team already seen by many people as the best football assembly in the history of the game.

As Neymar moves from Brazil to Spain, a massive movement that is creating unprecedented global interest, the prospect is thrown up of a player-combination that has been long imagined but never seen in the history of the game.

Permit me to take us back in time and recreate the imaginary game generations have been playing with the world’s greatest players.

Imagine a team in the 1960s and early 1970s that has a combination of Brazil’s Pele, Portugal’s Eusebio and Northern Ireland’s George Best.

Picture a combination in the 1970s and 1980s of Holland’s Johan Cruyff, Brazil’s Zico and France’s Michel Platini all in one team.

Dream of a combination in the 1980s and 1990s of Argentina’s Maradona, France’s Zinedine Zidane and Brazil’s Ronaldo playing in the same club.

Such awesome striking power only exists in the realm of imagination. The world never gets to see it in reality.

Now things are about to change and that’s why the world cannot wait for the La Liga to recommence.

In Iniesta, Xavi and Messi, Barcelona already had an awesome midfield combination, that for the past several seasons treated the world to champagne football with mesmerizing artistry and style. Their style of football influenced and introduced a new football philosophy to the world.

Now, Barcelona have raised the standard even higher. They have gone across the Atlantic to import and to add new spice to that already lethal concoction.

Neymar comes to Barca with solid football credentials. He has just emerged with a virtuoso performance in the Confederations Cup, that saw him lead Brazil to victory and emerge the championship’s best player.

Without doubt his stellar performance justifies his current rating as probable successor to the incomparable Lionel Messi, as the world’s best player. The point of interest is that the two of them team up at a time that they are at their best. They also play similar roles for their respective clubs.

It is likely that the immediate impact of this combination will be that La Liga overtakes the English Premiership in television viewership in the new season. Barcelona may now attract a global followership of fans to rival those of Manchester United, Arsenal and even Real Madrid.

A combination of players of the stature of Neymar and Messi in one team is indeed very uncommon in world football. Barcelona are charting uncertain territory and this will attract close study by scholars of the game.

How can one team accommodate probably the greatest player in history and possibly the best player (on current form) in the world?

Will Neymar relieve Messi of some of the pressures and responsibilities he has shouldered alone in Barca and make him evenmore effective than he has been? Will the almost certain contest for goals between them become a destructive force? Will they complement each other or destroy each other? Is Barcelona about to explode or implode?

I guess it will all depend on how Barcelona’s new manager manages the egos of the world’s current best players and finds room for both of them in every game. Neither of these players can be a bench warmer in any club in the world.

Until the new season starts we can only drool over the prospect of a true footballing spectacle in the next few weeks. Only Camp Nou has the capacity and the spectator sophistication to accommodate two ‘gods’ on the same turf.

The rest of the world can only wait for the moment Neymar and Messi (and Iniesta) march out together onto the stage in Barcelona and start to give a performance such as the world has only been dreaming of but has not seen.


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