Is he Jekyll, or is he Hyde? Is he Doctor, or is he Mister? Whoever he is, he is Neymar and he's, currently, a struggling man playing football at PSG.
A divisive a figure as there is one, Neymar started the 2022-23 season with a bang but has flopped massive of late in Paris, mostly after returning from an upsetting World Cup in Qatar with Brazil.
After kicking the season off with 15 goals and 12 assists through the first 20 games (all competitions), Neymar has lost all of his power after returning to Paris on Christmas.
While definitely an issue, his injured and still banged-up ankle is not an excuse for the massive no-show performances he's put up of late. It started with a mediocre outing against Strasbourg (2-1 win) in which he dived and was sent off. It was followed by last weekend's putrid game at Rennes (0-1 loss). And on and on it goes.
Neymar didn't have a shot on goal for the first time in nearly a year while at PSG last Sunday facing Rennes at Rohazon Park. That's bad, but what is even worst is to find him struggling to keep up with the rhythm of the games. Neymar is not quick anymore, not lively, not active, and definitely not decisive as in months past.
Neymar has struggled of late at PSG but his entourage is convinced he will bounce back
French outlet Le Parisien quotes some sources close to Neymar saying that there is nothing to worry about his current form, with his entourage convinced about it stating that "no one will soon have any reason to criticize him," claiming that the no. 10 "will soon return to form." We'll see how that goes.
In the same report, Le Parisien quotes Alain Simon, former PSG, and French team doctor, saying that "a benign ankle sprain (which is Neymar's injury suffered with Brazil in November) can heal between 10 days and 3 weeks, but it is estimated that it takes six weeks to fully heal."
Talking to Le Parisien, Marcelo CourregeIt (a journalist from TV Globo) said that "it is impossible to imagine, in France, the weight that was on the shoulders of Neymar and the hopes he represented for the Brazilian people in this World Cup."
"There is no reason to imagine Neymar not refinding his form from the first part of the season," added Marcelo Courrege. "His drop in motivation is understandable, but it is temporary, and it will go away as the Champions League approaches."
With PSG away touring Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week and a French Cup game against a sixth-division opponent next Monday, there is ample time for Neymar to get back on track and regain some playing shape.
There is less than a month before PSG have to play Bayern Munich in the Champions League, though, so Neymar is already fighting against the clock.