How Has Neymar Fared Against Italian Teams in his Champions League Career?

No player on Paris Saint-Germain’s current roster has had more experience in going up against Italian teams in the UEFA Champions League than Neymar. In his seven-year Champions League career, the Brazilian superstar has totaled for nine games against four different Italian sides. Seven of those matchups came during his time with FC Barcelona while the other two were with PSG.

Neymar has had some of his most memorable career performances against the best that Italy has to offer, which should bode well for his upcoming duel against Atalanta. Here is a look back at his performances against Italian teams in the Champions League.

Milan — 2013-2014 Champions League Group Stage, home and away

In his first season with Barcelona, Neymar faced Milan in both fixtures of that season’s Champions League group stage. Neymar started both games upfront alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez in the team’s 4-3-3 setup.

Over both fixtures, Neymar did not score or assist but he did win a penalty during the home fixture. He helped the Catalan club go undefeated against Milan en route to topping the group.

Juventus — 2015 UEFA Champions League Final

This was one of the games that helped propel Neymar from being touted as a promising forward to a world-class talent. The Brazilian was active in the attack as he recorded three shots and created two goal-scoring opportunities for teammates. Alongside Messi and Luis Suarez, Juventus did not have much of an answer for one of the best attacking trios that the sport has ever seen.

Neymar topped off his performance with a goal to clinch the 3-1 final win.

AS Roma — 2015/2016 Champions League Group Stage, home and away

For the first time in his career, Neymar faced AS Roma. Barcelona came away with a 1-1 draw in the away fixture but later went on to demolish the Serie A side by a 6-1 score in the home contest.

Over both games, Neymar did not score or provide an assist. Neymar sought to be more of a playmaker against Roma as he recorded six goal-scoring chances created over the two games.

Juventus — 2016/2017 Champions League Quarter-Final, home and away

This was a tie in which Barcelona simply could not break through Juventus’ deep low block. In the first leg, Neymar once again sought to be a playmaker as he created a trio of goal-scoring chances. But under manager Luis Enrique’s dysfunctional three-at-the-back setup, the team was not able to generate many high-percentage goal-scoring chances.

In the second leg, Neymar turned it up a notch. He played as if he wanted to lead yet another historic comeback win in the tournament. When on the ball, he looked to progress play upfield and ended up becoming a key attacking catalyst in the game. He recorded four goal-scoring chances created and an astounding 15 dribbles completed — two impressive feats against Juventus’ stout defensive unit.

In the end, it was not enough as Neymar and company failed to score a goal over the tie.

Napoli — 2018-2019 Champions League Group Stage, home and away

The theme of Neymar being a playmaker-first talent carried into his performances against Napoli in last season’s Champions League group stage.

In the home fixture, Neymar was slotted into the number 10 role as the central attacking midfielder under manager Thomas Tuchel’s 4-2-3-1 setup. The Brazilian was once again difficult to contain when on the ball; he created four goal-scoring chances and often breezed on by Napoli players thanks to his 13 dribbles completed.

The away fixture was not much different as Neymar yet again created four goal-scoring chances. Neymar did his part but PSG did not come away with wins in either contest.

Overall, Neymar has accumulated one goal and zero assists in nine games against Italian teams in his Champions League career. His teams have come away with just three wins out of the nine fixtures. Still, none of his performances would constitute as being anything close to a poor outing. In many of these fixtures, the Brazilian forward was often the one creating for teammates and using his on-ball prowess to progress deep into the opponent’s own half.

His previous performances against Italian teams should not be an indicator of what is to come against Atalanta. Still, it would surely feel good for Neymar to record a goal contribution against arguably one of the most prolific attacking teams that he has faced in years.

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