The former Spurs manager has hinted that the Brazilian star has lost some of his shine playing in France
Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas believes Neymar’s move to PSG has seen him stumble in his quest to potentially succeed Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the world’s best footballer.
In total, Neymar has managed 51 goals in 58 games for PSG – who opened their latest title defence with a 3-0 win over Nimes without the 27-year-old.
But the Brazilian’s time with the club has been impacted by injury and, more recently, transfer speculation which has seen both Barcelona and Real Madrid circle for him .
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While Neymar’s future is far from clear, Villas-Boas claims his move to PSG has seen the attacker fail to build upon the promise he showed while at Camp Nou.
“He is an important player in the world of football. For me, it was the player who could succeed Ronaldo and Messi for the Ballon d’Or. But he did not recover all the qualities he had shown in Barcelona,” Villas-Boas said.
Despite that claim, the Marseille coach conceded Neymar’s potential departure from France would leave a big hole to fill.
“For Ligue 1, it’s not good if he leaves,” Villas-Boas said.
“This type of player has an important image in football, a bit like when Ronaldinho was here in Paris.
“There’s this attractiveness, the football world wants to watch these kinds of players. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I can’t comment on the separation because I’m not the PSG coach.”
As it stands, Barca have finally opened face-to-face negotiations with PSG over a move for Neymar, though a potential deal still appears to be some way off.
While the Catalans are willing to offer Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic as part of the transfer, the Parisians are reportedly keen on getting Nelson Semedo.
With the tug of war over Neymar ongoing, the player himself has been left sidelined with PSG fans turning on their star player during the club’s season opener .
Though fan sentiment has taken a turn, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has stressed Neymar remains crucial to his cause.
“He was very decisive for us. If we lose Neymar, maybe I will not sleep,” Tuchel said on French TV show Canal Football Club .
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“Because it would be hard to lose him and find another player who can do the same things for us. Maybe no news is good news.
“It’s hard not knowing. Because I want him at home. But we have to find solutions without him too.”