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'Neymar has matured a lot since Barcelona days' - Brazil forward has 'increased his arsenal' at PSG, says Tite

02-Mar-2021, 03:58 pm

Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain 2020-21

Neymar "has matured a lot" since his days at Barcelona, according to Tite, who thinks the Brazil forward has "increased his arsenal" at Paris Saint-Germain.

The 29-year-old has solidified that reputation at Parc des Princes over the past four years, in spite of a series of injuries and disciplinary issues, and Tite believes he has also become more of a team player since leaving Camp Nou.

The Brazil national team head coach told "Neymar has matured a lot. Before, when he was at Barcelona and in my early days with theSelecao, he was a player who would be out on the wing, would score goals, had pace, would dribble, do individual plays.

"Now he’s expanded the area in which he plays and, as well as being a goalscorer, he creates plays for others. He’s now what we call a ‘bow and arrow’ – he can set things up and finish things off.

"He’s increased his arsenal."

Barca won the race to sign Neymar ahead of a whole host of top clubs in the summer of 2013, snapping him up from Santos for €57m (£49m/$68m).

The mercurial attacker quickly repaid that fee, forming one-third of a fearsome trident alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez that managed to fire the club to two La Liga titles and the Champions League.

Neymar also won the Copa del Rey three timesand the FIFA Club World Cup at Camp Nou,recording 105 goals and 76 assists in 186 games.

Neymar has racked up 103 appearances across all competitions for PSG so far, helping the club win nine domestic trophies in the process - including three Ligue 1 titles.

The former Barca star has hit 83 goals for the French champions while also setting up a further 47 for his team-mates, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria all benefitting from his creativity in the final third.

Neymar's struggles for fitness have continued in 2020-21, with a groin injury currently keeping him out of action amid a crucial run of fixtures for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

The Brazilian, who has 13 goals to his name from 18 games this term,is expected to return to action later this month, though, at which point PSG could still be in the hunt for three major trophies.

The French champions have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Barcelona 4-1 in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie, and they also have a French Cup last-32 clash against Brest to look forward to.

A fourth successive Ligue 1 crown is still within PSG'ssights, too, as they currently sit two points behind leaders Lyon in second place with 11 games remaining.

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