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Don’t let the antics surrounding Neymar cloud your judgement of him as a player

Neymar hasn't been nominated for the Best FIFA Football Awards, which is extremely harsh on the Brazilian

Is there a worst named honour than The Best FIFA Football Awards™?

To save you the effort of having to think in these sweltering hot conditions, the answer is no.

The nominations for The Best FIFA Men’s Player™ are now live, headed up by bookies’ favourite Cristiano Ronaldo and featuring all the usual suspects.

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The Usual Suspects

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The Usual Suspects

One player was nowhere to be seen though: Neymar.

In truth he probably didn’t deserve a nomination. The award takes into account form from 3 July 2017 through to 15 July 2018.

Injury meant that, despite contributing 53 goals in 43 games for club and country last season, Neymar didn’t pull on a PSG shirt after 25 February.

Still, 19 league goals in 20 games was enough to see the 26-year-old named Ligue 1 Player of the Year, ahead The Best FIFA Men’s Player nominee Kylian Mbappe.

Smile for the camera

Getty - Contributor
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Smile for the camera

Whether he deserves a nomination is a debate for another day.

What shouldn’t be up for debate is that Neymar is a fantastic footballer.

He’s a dying breed of player who rebels against the robotic nature of the game and still carries himself with a carefree attitude.

One who’s equally likely to nutmeg a defender or rainbow flick over an opposition tackle as he is to play a simple sideways pass.

Sure, he dives too much. There’s no excuse for it but when you get fouled as much as Neymar does you must start developing some form of complex.

Sure, he’s emotional. Those emotions have undoubtedly boiled over from time to time and negatively impacted upon his game.

But you rarely find mavericks who are ice cold emotionally. The creativity needed to see the game in a different way is interweaved with that temperamental emotional response.

It’s become something of a trend to hate Neymar now. Everything he does is overanalysed on social media. Every move judged to have negative connotations.

People laugh when he cries. People celebrate his failures. People talk as if they know him. Big John from Doncaster is suddenly an expert on his relationship with Mbappe.

The most worrying trend is to dismiss Neymar as a show pony. To write him off as a YouTube complitation sensation for the Vine generation.

This is a player with 57 goals in 90 appearances for Brazil. In all likelihood he’ll end up being Brazil’s most capped player and highest goalscorer.

He’s won league titles in Spain, Brazil and France. He’s a three-time Champions League winner and an Olympic Gold medallist.

So hate him all you want. But don’t let his perceived antics cloud your judgement. Neymar is a once in a generation footballer.

Enjoy him while you can.

Someone’s been drawing on your neck again

Getty - Contributor
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Someone’s been drawing on your neck again

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