Neymar Jr. Playing on Whole New Level Since Brazil World Cup

Neymar Junior in the Barcelona FC away kit - March 2014When historians look back on the 2014 World Cup, Neymar will probably be one of the few players for the Selecao who will be given pass marks. The average performances of the national team, coupled with the incredible capitulation against now champions Germany in the semifinals, has left Brazilian football in a state of chaos. Old manager Dunga replaced the lame duck Scolari, and many of the players considered key before June are now surplus to requirements.

In short, the national side - and Brazilian football in general - is due an incredible metamorphosis. However, the shining beacon before the tournament still shines as brightly today. Neymar Jr, the little Brazilian whose controversial move from Santos in Brazil to Barcelona in 2014 is still a hard one to calculate, is the poster boy of Brazilian soccer at present and looks set to be the case for many years to come.

One of the finest dribblers in the world and an astoundingly talented player off and on the ball, his overall game has come on leaps and bounds in the last year or so. Playing under the more enjoyable freedoms of Luis Enrique, himself a former Barcelona stalwart, and alongside the genius of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez -two of the finest players in the world - has been revolutionary for the Brazilian.

While last year he scored a respectable 15 goals in 41 games - three of which came against Celtic in the Champions League - this season he has already amassed 14 goals from just 18 games. He's scored in the first El Classico - the biggest match in Spanish and arguably world football - of each season but this year his performance levels have increased since the derby goal, not regressed.

Last year looked to be one of adaptation before being able to go to Brazil in full freedom. Despite the setback of what happened to his home nation in their own back yard, it seems to have energized the young star - he looks closer to his Santos levels now than he ever did last season. His goals have improved, as have his overall performances. He no longer spends games on the periphery of the action, and instead has become a far more rounded player in the teams shape & system.

He now looks far closer to the player that Barcelona paid such dubious figures for in the first place. With a rapport now developing with Luis Suarez as well as a blossoming relationship with Messi only getting deeper, Neymar looks set to become a part of the most fearsome forward line in world football. Suarez has already provided the Brazilian with several assists - including his goal against Real Madrid - and they have combined several times in nice moves that haven't just come off.

It's still early days and while the La Liga campaign looks to be in trouble of becoming a bit dull shortly if Real Madrid continues their petrifying form, the Champions League looks to be a stage which is perfectly set for the incredible pressing, passing and penetration of the deadly Catalan trio.

How impressed have you been with Neymar so far this season? Would you agree that he looks to have really come on a level since the World Cup disappointment?