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Neymar's front pages

‘La Copa del Ney’ proclaimed Sport newspaper on Thursday morning, a play on words that should require no explanation. And after adding two more goals to his personal account against Atlético Madrid in the cup, the Brazilian striker really is the man of the moment.

Neymar himself admitted to the press the other day that he has hit on his best form yet since joining Barça, and he’s got the stats to prove it. In 25 games in the Champions League, Liga and Cup, he’s averaged 0.84 goals a game. That’s considerably more than his tally of 0.36 a game in his first season at the club, when he got 15 goals in 41 games, a record he has already beaten with half the season still to play.

The Brazilian has been on target 21 times in all this season, which equates to one goal every 87 minutes. Last season, he found the net once every 189 minutes.

Another improvement is that while last season he scored most of his goals at the Camp Nou, this year he’s been doing it on the road too, with famous goals at such venues as the Santiago Bernabéu, Parc des Princes and the Vicente Calderón. He’s also scored at Elche, Almeria, Rayo and Levante.

The Messi connection

A lot of this has to do with his constantly improving understanding with fellow forward Leo Messi. The duo have scored 52 goals between them this term and are rapidly on their way to becoming the finest strike partnership Barça has had for years. Not since 2008/09, when Samuel Eto’o scored 36 goals (24 of those by the last week of January) has the team’s second top scorer after Messi had as many goals to their name.

But Neymar is offering much more than goals. He has also provided five assists this season, meaning that he has been directly involved in more than one goal a game. Thank you Neymar! May the good form continue!

3rd top scorer

Neymar is currently third in the chase for the Pichichi award for the top goalscorer in La Liga, only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Leo Messi. Colombian Carlos Bacca of Sevilla is fourth with 12. Neymar has also scored four goals in three cup games, and three in five games in the Champions League.


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