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Who are Neymar's favourite opponents?

Who dreads meeting Brazil's all-time top UEFA competition scorer the most?

Neymar has scored 41 UEFA club competition goals
Neymar has scored 41 UEFA club competition goals Getty Images

Brazil's all-time top scorer in UEFA club competition with 41 goals, Neymar continues to score at an impressive rate for Paris, but which teams bring out the best in him?

• Neymar failed to score in his first five UEFA Champions League games for Barcelona, but the dam burst on 11 December 2013 when the Brazilian scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 group stage defeat of Celtic at the Camp Nou.

Six great Neymar goals
Six great Neymar goals

• That first hat-trick was scored inside 15 minutes, Neymar finding the net in the 44th, 48th and 58th minutes. He got his second – and first for Paris – against Crvena zvezda in the 2018/19 competition (20, 22, 81), and struck his third (21, 38, 50) against İstanbul Başakşehir in December 2020.

• Statistics suggest that Başakşehir, Celtic and Crvena zvezda are his favourite opponents, though it is easy to see why Paris were so keen to sign him in summer 2017; he had scored seven goals against them in six games for Barcelona.

• Neymar has found the net against 17 of the 25 sides he has met in Europe; to date, Napoli and Roma have kept him at bay for the longest: 180 minutes without conceding.

• The Brazilian's scoring rate has improved significantly since he moved to France. At Barcelona, he scored 21 goals in 40 #UCL games (3,408m of football in total), at an average rate of a goal every 162m17s. He has scored 20 in 25 European games for Paris, finding the target every 109m48s.

• His overall goals-per-minute game is not quite up to the standard of Lionel Messi (a goal every 101m44s), Cristiano Ronaldo (one every 113m45s) or Robert Lewandowski (122m43s).

Who has Neymar scored against in UEFA competition?

OpponentsGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
AC Milan2166--
Ajax42981298m
Anderlecht2180290m
APOEL190--
Arsenal21801180m
Atalanta190--
Atlético43601360m
Başakşehir2180360m
BATE2180290m
Bayern54504112m30s
Celtic6518774m
Crvena zvezda2172443m
Dortmund2180290m17s
Galatasaray190190m
Juventus32701270m
Leipzig21801180m
Leverkusen190--
Liverpool21801180m
Man. City64461446m
Man. United2180290m
Mönchengladbach190--
Napoli2180--
Paris6540777m9s
Real Madrid2134--
Roma2180--
TOTAL65560441136m41s

• Neymar has taken on sides from 12 nations in the UEFA Champions League, and to date the only country that has a collective clean sheet against the Brazilian is Cyprus – though that only amounts to 90 minutes of Barcelona's 1-0 win against APOEL in the 2014/15 group stage.

• Cyprus aside, he averages a goal a game or better against teams from Belarus, Belgium, France, Scotland, Serbia and Turkey.

• To date, he has scored only once in six games against Spanish sides, and once in ten meetings with Serie A clubs. Five goals have come in 12 meetings with Premier League sides, although Bundesliga representatives have more reason to be cautious – Neymar averages a goal every 141m26s against German teams.

Which nations' clubs has Neymar scored against?

Opponents by nationalityGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
Belarus2180290m
Belgium2180290m
Cyprus190--
England129865197m12s
France6540777m9s
Germany119907141m26s
Italy108861886m
Netherlands42981298m
Scotland6518774m
Serbia2172443m
Spain64941494m
Turkey3270467m30s
TOTAL65560441136m41s


When Neymar has scored his UEFA Champions League goals

• The message for Neymar's opponents is don't drop off if he doesn't score in the first ten minutes; 13 of his 41 goals in the UEFA Champions League have been scored between the 11th and 30th minutes of games.

Neymar celebrates Barcelona's 6-1 win against Paris
Neymar celebrates Barcelona's 6-1 win against Paris©AFP/Getty Images

• The Brazilian's other big scoring hotspot is the final minutes – plus added time: six goals between the 85th minute and the final whistle (two of those in Barcelona's 6-1 comeback win against Paris from 2017).

TimeGoals (penalties)
0–103
11–207 (1)
21–306 (1)
31–404
41–half-time3
FIRST HALF23
46–554
56–653
66–753
76–852
86–full time6 (1)
SECOND HALF18
TOTAL41

Last updated: 06/01/21