Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has taken the time to praise Neymar ahead of Sunday’s La Liga encounter with Eibar and feels the 23-year-old has consistently been great for the Catalans since joining them from Santos in 2013.
The Brazil international has been in sublime form in the past few weeks, netting four times in the 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano last Saturday before setting up both of Barca’s goals in their 2-0 Champions League victory against BATE, yet Luis Enrique is not surprised by his recent goalscoring exploits.
“Are we seeing the best Neymar since he joined Barcelona? No, I don’t think so. He has always been a great player for us,” the Barcelona coach said at a news conference.
“He is a very special player, a unique player. He has been great all these years.
“Obviously he is still developing, but he has been fantastic ever since he came to Barcelona.
“He scores goals, provides assists and can make the difference.”
Sunday’s encounter with Eibar comes one year after Luis Suarez made his official debut for Barca and Luis Enrique had words of encouragement for the Uruguay international, too.
“Suarez is as motivated as last year. It was a very special season for him because he came back from suspension. He is pretty much the same this year,” Luis Enrique added.
“He has a lot of character and does not need any special motivation. He is doing very well, contributing a lot, helping out with assists and I am very happy with his performances.
“We attack in a very structured way. We have a lot of possession of the ball. Suarez is a centre forward who uses space superbly. He is a basic pillar of our team both on and off the ball. He is doing exactly what we want him to do.
“Suarez is one of the best attackers in the world at the moment. He already was one of the best when he came here and has adapted very well. He is very competitive and brings a different type of character this club normally have.”
Suarez and Neymar have stepped up in the absence of Lionel Messi, who remains sidelined due to a knee injury, but Luis Enrique does not expect his attackers to do anything extra now that the Argentinian is unavailable.
“Of course you are seeing a different kind of football from them because Messi is not there. He creates situations that we don’t see now, but Neymar and Suarez are not different players all of a sudden.
“We don’t have to overload them with added responsibilities and expect something extra from them.”