Joey Barton doubles down on divisive Neymar stance

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It’s been seven years since Joey Barton described Neymar as “the Justin Bieber of football.”

Explaining that unusual comparison, Barton suggested that Neymar is at his most impressive when enjoyed via highlight reels on YouTube.

Barton has been a detractor of Neymar’s for some time and he has now suggested that the Brazilian forward has slipped out of the list of the top five players in world football.

Fleetwood Town boss Barton has suggested that the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling have surpassed Neymar’s ability in recent years in his latest doubling down on his stance on the most expensive player of all time.

“I’m not a fan, I’ve never quite seen what others see in him [Neymar],” Barton said on talkSPORT.

“Obviously he’s the golden boy of Brazilian football and I think he’s a top player, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a better player than I’ve ever been and will ever be.

“But it was in comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and I don’t think he’s ever been in that street.

“People were comparing him very, very prematurely to take over the mantel of Messi and Ronaldo, and the fact those two boys are still at it kind of says what’s happened to Neymar over the last five or six years.

“I think the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne have gone past him now as consistent elite-level performers

“I don’t even think Neymar in the top five best players in the world.

“But look, it’s a game of opinions and no doubt everybody has got their opinion on it.

“For me, Messi and Ronaldo have redefined our era of football and you can’t compare Neymar to them.”

Earlier this week, Jamie Carragher got a great kick out of the outcome of PSG’s late victory over Atalanta, mocking Peter Schmeichel’s criticism of Neymar and it appears that Barton is most definitely in the Schmeichel camp.

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