Brazilian superstar Neymar is so good that his brain is on what we can call autopilot when he leaves rivals behind with his talented dribbling, Japanese neurologists say. The study suggests that Neymar’s brain activity is only at 10 percent of that of amateur players.
What does this mean? It means that Neymar is so talented that he doesn’t have to think when he moves his leg out to kick the ball. He’s a natural.
Brain scans from a study conducted on Neymar in February of this year showed minimal brain activity when he rotates his ankle, researcher Eiichi Naito told AFP on Friday.
“From MRI images we discovered Neymar’s brain activity to be less than 10 percent of an amateur player. It is possible genetics is a factor, aided by the type of training he does.”
The results of the tests were published in the Swiss journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience after a series of motor skills tests were performed on the striker, along with other athletes in Barcelona, in February. Researchers performed similar tests on three Spanish second-division football players and two top-level swimmers.
According to Naito, the results “provide valuable evidence that the football brain of Neymar recruits very limited neural resources in the motor-cortical foot regions during foot movements.” The Neurologist also said that, if tested, Neymar’s teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo would probably show similar results.
“It is fair to assume they would show similar levels given their footwork and technique,” Naito added.
In a statement to Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, Naito talked about the advantages of reduced brain activity when playing football:
“Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows (the player) to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies.”
It comes as no surprise that Neymar’s brain activity mirrors what fans see on the football field, and it was apparent just how pivotal a player he is. The 22-year-old led Brazil to the semifinals at the 2014 World Cup, however, his dream of winning the title on home soil came crashing down.
Neymar was hit in the back in a violent crash with Colombia defender Juan Zuniga, a match which saw Brazil advance to the semis. The striker was seen on the ground in excrutiating pain after his vertabrae was fractured by the collision.
Without Neymar’s incredible brain, Brazil was powerless and suffered the worst loss in their history when they faced Germany in the semifinals, losing 7-1. They were also defeated by the Netherlands 3-0 in the third place match, finishing fourth in the tournament.