The Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari feels that Neymar has struggled at FC Barcelona as a result of being played down the right.
The 22-year-old Barcelona attacker has been below his best for the La Liga giants, but did net a crucial equaliser in his side’s 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.
“Neymar hasn’t shone at Barca because they play different to what he is used to,” Scolari told reporters.
“He’s better when he has space, but Barcelona have him playing on the right. The Spanish press has one opinion about Neymar and the Brazilian press has another.”
Neymar began on the right in Barcelona’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. But the 22-year-old finished on the left, from where he scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.
The former Santos man has received his fair share of criticism ever since his big-money move from Santos to the Camp Nou side, but Scolari feels the tricky attacker is not the one to blame for his relatively underwhelming performances so far this term.
Scolari watched on from the stands at Camp Nou, and warned rivals the World Cup could be a tournament Neymar dominates.
“I came to watch him (Neymar) and Dani Alves, Filipe Luis, Adriano,” Scolari told reporters.
Scolari then went on to highlight Neymar’s importance to the national team and stressed that the Barcelona forward could be one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup.
“For the national team he’s a special player and he plays in a different way to how he does at Barca.
“This can be Neymar’s World Cup, we can be sure of that.”
Brazil Legend Pele Slams Neymar, says “Neymar looks for fouls where there are none”
Unlike Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who praised Neymar, Brazil legend Pele has slammed the tactics used by the Barcelona superstar to win the fouls.
Pelé has said that Neymar sometimes dives on the pitch. “He also had the same problem at Santos. I think he looks to create fouls and situations that aren’t there. He has improved a lot in that aspect though because things are different in Europe,” he told ESPN.
According to Pelé, the player’s progress at Barcelona will benefit the Brazilian national team: “Football is a harder, more physical game in Europe. It’s a great experience for him to grow as a player.”
In any case, the Brazil legend appeared “slightly concerned” by the pressure on Neymar: “The World Cup is a tournament, it isn’t just one game. Everybody expects him to win it for Brazil and that’s very dangerous for him,” he warned.