Brazil legend Cafu has dubbed countryman Neymar “the best player in the world” in terms of technical talent, naming him as superior even to former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi.
Neymar, 28, left the Camp Nou to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record $263 million in August 2017, which was billed as a move so that he may step out of Messi’s shadow at the time.
Cafu told FOX Sports Brasil Neymar has no equal in the technical department:
“Technically, Neymar is the best player in the world. Today, technically, nobody can beat Neymar. Not even Messi, although I am a fan of him. But he does not surpass him in terms of technical quality.”
The Selecao star frequently makes efforts to embarrass his opponents on the field, often noted for his quick bursts of impact rather than sustained phases of dominance.
Critics have scrutinised Neymar for failing to take PSG to a new level of success since his arrival. However, it was his header against Borussia Dortmund that helped fire the French giants into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four seasons before football was suspended due to the coronavirus:
Cafu wasn’t entirely biased in his assessment of the star, either, adding Neymar wasn’t cut out to be Brazil captain because “it’s not his profile.”
The statistics suggest there’s at least some truth to the two-time World Cup-winner’s comments. Neymar has completed more dribbles than any other player per league game this season. His average sits at six per game (in 15 Ligue 1 appearances), while Messi is in second place and has completed 5.4 dribbles each game on average (22 Liga appearances), per WhoScored.com.
Opponents clearly recognise the threat Neymar poses, too, considering he’s been fouled 4.1 times per match this term—only Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish (4.9) has been fouled more.
Messi has also complimented Neymar’s technical prowess and told Mundo Deportivo (per Sport) in February: “He's a different type of player who is difficult to stop one-on-one and scores goals.”