Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tim Vickery in South America

On Wednesday Neymar helped Brazil to a morale-boosting 3-0 win away to Sweden. The next evening he was back in action on the other side of the Atlantic, in Florianopolis in the south of Brazil, where he played the starring role as Santos came from behind to seal a 3-1 victory against Figueirense.

The punishing schedule is reflected by a glance at the league table. The Brazilian Championship is approaching the halfway stage, but Neymar has hardly figured. He has been away on international duty, and Santos have struggled in his absence.

A defeat last Thursday would have left them just one point clear of the relegation places - and it looked a distinct possibility at half-time, when bottom of the table Figueirense were a goal up. Neymar put a stop to the panic with a superb solo equaliser, and laid on the clinching third goal. He also added another assist on Sunday as Santos came from behind once more to beat old rivals Corinthians. Suddenly the league table does not look so frightening.

Clearly, Santos need Neymar.

But does Neymar still need Santos?

It is an interesting question.

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