How Neymar's Arrival Will Change the Way Barcelona Play

Kieran Sobels@@palabrasBarcaFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 30:  Neymar of Brazil celebrates as he scores their second goal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Final match between Brazil and Spain at Maracana on June 30, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

As Neymar glitters at the Confederations Cup in Brazil, it is impossible to ignore the question on everyone's lips—can he do the same for Barcelona?

Only time in the famous Blaugrana will tell, but recent performances with the Seleção suggest the 21 year old will have some impact on Barca's iconic approach play in the final third.

However, Neymar will learn quickly that at Barcelona no single part is more important than the whole. While the Spanish champions boast some of the world's best footballers, their success continues to be defined primarily by teamwork and their intricate football system.


No Revolution

So how much will Neymar change the way Barcelona play?

In short, not a whole lot.

As talented as the Brazilian is, he is far from the first big attacking signing to come to Camp Nou in recent years. Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa have all learned that to succeed at Barca means adapting to the system the Catalans already have in place.

Ultimately Tito Vilanova will continue to pursue perfection in the art that is patient, possession-based football. Barcelona is not ready to abandon an approach which has been so successful.

Theoretically, Neymar adds superior passing and dribbling ability to Barca's attacking trident, but he must do this within the existing framework.

Just as we cannot expect the Brazilian to be a hit in Europe overnight, do not expect him to revolutionise Barcelona's playing style.


A More Direct Barca?

In buying Neymar, however, Barca have certainly acknowledged that their play in the final third needed a shakeup.

Renowned for his dribbling ability, the Brazilian starlet should allow Barca to play with greater purpose and direction in the attacking third. 

On his way to winning the Golden Ball of the Confederations Cup, Neymar completed 15 dribbles—only future teammate Andres Iniesta completed more (22).

The likes of Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and David Villa were often caught in wide areas bereft of ideas last season. For instance, very rarely did any of the trio manage to work scoring opportunities for themselves.

Barcelona clearly believe that Neymar is the perfect man to help Lionel Messi unlock the stubborn defences they regularly face.

Indeed, if managed correctly, Neymar will diversify Tito Vilanova's options up front.

Put simply, there should be a little less "just give the ball to Messi" thinking going on.

Neymar could even afford the world's best player a rest once in a while.


Tactics the Key

If Tito Vilanova truly wants to make changes, however, he cannot simply depend on the addition of the 21 year old.

Changing personnel is just one piece of the puzzle, and Barca must make some tactical tweaks to their game to both improve upon last season and accommodate their new star.


Kieran Sobels— 


How do you think Neymar will go in the Blaugrana? How will he change the way they play?

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