Neymar’s injury against Marseille is a major blow for Paris Saint-Germain, who are set to miss one of their most important weapons ahead of their Champions League return leg against Real Madrid.
The Brazilian has been their franchise footballer, their icon, their record-breaking signing and the one how can make the difference between the four lines of the field.
The 26-year-old forward has participated in 46 of his team’s goals, having scored 29 and assisted 17, in 29 games so far this season, with 32 of those in Ligue 1.
Out of players in the top five European leagues, only Barcelona’s star Lionel Messi (with 34) has managed to outperform his former teammate, who is also the fourth player in the continent in chances created, with 69 in total – behind Kevin De Bruyne (84), Dimitri Payet (76) and Mesut Ozil (72).
The Brazil international is also the top footballer in terms of attempted (232), as well as completed (142) dribbles and he is second in duels won (269), behind Watford’s Richarlison.
He can combine a unique ability of penetrating opposition backlines in open play, with a capacity for finding the net from set pieces.
Although the post has prevented him from being the top scorer in the free-kicks category, his three goals place him next to Messi and Nabil Fekir.
His coach Unai Emery will now have to replace his most important player and Angel Di Maria or Julian Draxler might be summoned to fill the Brazilian’s boots.
The Argentine has scored nine goals and has contributed six assists in the first 10 games of 2018, while the German’s best performances in PSG colours were in the Champions League last season.
The Spanish tactician, however, might approach his team’s upcoming games with some certain tactical changes if he decides to proceed with a system switch.
By abandoning his beloved 4-3-3, he could also introduce a formation with two box-to-box midfielders, choosing between Giovani Lo Celso, Marco Verratti and Lassana Diarra.