Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. One a precocious talent with the world at his feet, the other now at his peak, a little battle-scarred, a little worn down by life but by no means finished. The Brazilian has been linked with moves ranging from 40-60million to Europe's finest clubs, while the Englishman is settled in the red half of Manchester. Both are their teams' star men in terms of publicity, reputation, and payment, but Wednesday night showed that one is currently worth more than the other. Here we examine 5 reasons why Wayne Rooney is more valuable than Neymar.
5. To Be The Best You Have To Play The Best
Neymar is one of the hottest talents in the world, and when he leaves Santos and Brazil, he will have the pick of Europes biggest and best clubs. However, as Wednesday nights friendly with England showed, he is still someway short of the finished article. Pele might have said Neymar was already better than Messi but I suspect the Brazilian legend was popping a few too many of his blue pills. For while Neymar has great talent, he does not get tested week in, week out in Brazil. The Brazilian league structure is vast and complex from January to May teams play in regional state championships, typically made up of a few top teams, some middling clubs, and some no better than pub teams. From May to December Serie A, the national championship, seeks to pit the best sides against each other but clubs will prioritise Copa Libertadores campaigns over league matches, and the hectic schedule makes no allowance for international breaks. The quality of opposition Neymar comes up against varies wildly (hence why Brazilian strikers regularly score over 40 goals in a domestic season) but Wayne Rooney faces top matches week in, week out, against some of the Worlds best players, and then in midweek his Manchester United team can face the cream of Europes crop. While Manchester United face Real Madrid in the Champions League, Neymars Santos will play Paulista, who once won the Brazilian Cup. Until Neymar comes to Europe and faces the worlds best he will never fulfill his potential. Rooney has been tested, and while his career has had its ups and downs, Rooney has become a better player who has shined more often on the biggest stage. His big match experience and knowledge having come up against the worlds best defenders makes him a better player and therefore more valuable than Neymar.