UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Neymar hails Suárez, Suárez hails Neymar

Neymar and Luis Suárez heaped praise on each other after they continued to make up for Lionel Messi's Barcelona absence with another destructive display in beating BATE Borisov.

Luis Suárez: Barcelona v BATE
Luis Suárez: Barcelona v BATE

Last season was marked by two trebles.

The treble trophy haul by Barcelona fuelled by treble quality of what became known as their 'Trident' of Neymar, Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi.

So when Messi limped off early in the Liga win against Las Palmas in late September, absent for what was predicted to be nearly two months, it was legitimate to either have concerns for how the Spanish and European champions would cope – or to watch closely and discover how they might manage to remain unafflicted.

Barcelona's 3-0 victory over BATE Borisov marked the ninth performance without the club’s all-time leading scorer. Seven wins, one draw one defeat. Decent statistics.

But what is pretty stunning, by comparison, is the performance of the Dynamic Duo as soon as the 'Trident' was broken up. Without Messi, Barcelona have thus far 20 times.

Of those Neymar and Suárez account for 17 goals and seven assists. Cometh the Messi-free hours, cometh the men.

Having shared the goals and assists in defeating the Belarusian champions the Brazilian and the Uruguayan, both scorers in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final, shared the praise too.

Watch: Suárez's goal
Watch: Suárez's goal

Key man Suárez told UEFA.com: "Right now Leo is missing and that adds to the need for us strikers to connect whenever possible. "If you play next to a footballer of the great quality of 'Ney' then, obviously, you enjoy the games and the partnership a great deal more. Beyond winning it's obviously very satisfying to help the team with assists and goals."

Neymar added: "We played a winning game – we got the goals we required against a well-organised team. For that third goal I had to race at top speed to get there but what was vital was that Luis gave me an absolutely magnificent pass.

Perhaps selecting which of the two merited 'primus inter pares', first amongst equals, between Suárez and Neymar is a question of taste. The latter scored twice and made one while the former scored once but was crucial in the other two strikes. What is unavoidable is that the partnership is more than the sum of the parts.

Neymar's individual form is probably at its highest and most consistent since joining from Santos while Suárez is now within one goal of matching Diego Maradona's total for Barça, in the same number of games, and within two of matching the great Romário – but with seven matches in hand.

Neymar's star showing
Neymar's star showing

Truly astonishing landmarks for a player who has only just celebrated one year playing for Barcelona – and who’s enormously team-spirited and generous in his assist giving to Messi and Neymar. A goal-greedy, self-focused centre forward he is not.

The former Liverpool and Ajax striker, constantly playing with a smile on his face right now, has a partial explanation. "Beyond the need to perform it's both enjoyable and it makes you happy when you are playing and winning for the club you always wanted to be with. We're in a good moment as a team and that adds to my happiness."

The bad news for Barcelona? Ivan Rakitić definitely misses this weekend’s match with Villarreal thanks to his lower calf muscle tear.

The bad news for their rivals … not too long from now the Dynamic Duo will become a Trident again.

They may have proved there's life without Leo Messi. But he's proved, for years, that it’s sweeter and more productive with him.