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The World Cup severely impacted Neymar and PSG as a whole | PHILIPPE AUCLAIR

Neymar has not been the same since coming back from the World Cup, and he is seen as the most dispensable of the attacking three, according to Philippe Auclair.



Neymar has not been the same since coming back from the World Cup, and he is seen as the most dispensable of the attacking three, according to Philippe Auclair.

The Brazilian striker has been ruled out for the rest of PSG's season with an ankle injury. However, many fans see this as a blessing in disguise, as they feel that the front three for the Paris club is imbalanced.

Similarly, Neymar is seen as the most dispensable between himself, Lionel Messi and Kyllian Mbappe, due in no small part to how his World Cup heartbreak affected him.

Speaking on The Football Show, sports writer Philippe Auclair examined the imbalance in the PSG XI and how much the World Cup has negatively affected the Brazilian.

Neymar's World Cup heartbreak

Brazil crashed out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals, losing 4-2 on penalties to Croatia. Neymar was visibly heartbroken after the loss, as the 31-year-old knew he might not be able to make another World Cup attempt.

For Auclair, this heartbreak in November has seriously affected the PSG striker's form and confidence.

"The World Cup had a greater impact on him than any other player I can think of," Auclair said. "I would say that it actually transferred to PSG as a whole. Obviously, with Kyllian Mbappe as well there was a psychological impact.

"Imagine that you've got the World Champion Lionel Messi, who's there, Mbappe who has been mocked and ridiculed in ridiculous fashion by Emiliano Martínez, but who lost that final, and them you've got Neymar who completely missed out on this World Cup.

"You can imagine the tensions are going to be there. It explains why PSG went through a very difficult phase."

In spite of his reputation as a 'party animal', Auclair feels that Neymar has been the best thing about PSG in the past, and the belief that he is the most expendable is unfair on the service that he has

"There were many moments in previous years where Neymar was the best thing about PSG," Auclair said. "There were many moments where you thought that actually he's one of the few who seem to care.

"But this season, the Neymar before the World Cup and after the World Cup, and of course the injuries, he's not quite the same player. Will he ever be the same player again, we don't know!"

Imbalance in the attacking three

While Auclair does not believe Neymar is the only reason PSG have an imbalance, he does accept that the imbalance is there.

"The idea is very much that of the three, the one who is the most dispensable is Neymar," Auclair said. "That is a bit unfair considering his contributions to the club over the past few years.

"But, Messi is playing at a very high level again. Kyllian Mbappe is PSG! The PSG project is the Mbappe project.

"The problem is there is an imbalance, it's not due just to [Neymar], it's due to the fact of the three. Does Kyllian Mbappe track back? Not really. Does Messi track back? Well, not really.

"So, you're basically playing eight versus 11 when you're out of possession, which is a bit of a problem."

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