Neymar has impressed at PSG but there's still work to be done

On Sunday, PSG's players and their families had their Christmas party at Disneyland Paris. Everyone was there apart from Hatem Ben Arfa, who was ill and probably not in the mood, and Neymar, who had the club's permission to go back to Brazil for "personal reasons."

The former Barcelona forward, bought for a world record €222 million last summer, has not gone missing much this season though. Not everything has been perfect, of course, but Neymar's first four-and-a-half months in Paris have been very eventful to say the least.

First, there are his impressive stats: 15 goals (nine in Ligue 1; six in the Champions League) and nine assists in 18 games in all competitions (12 in Ligue 1; six in the Champions League). He has created many more chances as well and has been dominant in the attacking third. He was decisive away in the 2-2 draw against Marseille, scoring the first goal, even if he got sent off late in his first Classique; he was also key in PSG's 3-0 win over Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League group stages.

Then, there are his overall performances. Despite his excellent stats, the feeling is that he turns up when he wants and though he has had moments of brilliance where one could see his genius in action, he has also played some matches where he was clearly not up for it. When he is on his game, like against Bordeaux or in the Champions League (except for the final game against Bayern), he is unstoppable.

However, Neymar also has a tendency of trying to do everything himself, especially when things are not going according to plan for the team. At Dijon (a 2-1 win) or at Strasbourg (a 2-1 defeat), he tried to win the game alone and failed: overplaying and forcing things to the detriment of the team like Zlatan Ibrahimovic used to do when he was in the side. Defensively, the Brazilian rarely puts a shift in, which can unbalance the team when they don't have the ball -- though PSG didn't spend all that money on him for his defensive capabilities.

PSG may have already sealed their place in the Champions League round of 16, but the 3-1 defeat against Bayern in the final match earlier this month was instructive. Neymar had very little impact in a game where he should have led the team.

Finally, there have been the controversies. The "penaltygate" with Edinson Cavani in September didn't reflect well on Neymar. The 25-year-old wanted to make a statement that he was the new boss of this PSG team, and that's fine, but there are other ways to do it... certainly not in such a publicly dismissive way.

His relationship with manager Unai Emery is reportedly under strain too. There have been talks of a rift and that Neymar doesn't like Emery's long video analysis sessions. The forward is allowed privileges that his teammates do not get: such as his own physio and his own travel bag (when teammates have to take the club's one) and that can't be good for team morale.

There have been plenty of comments about his partying, too. In recent times we have seen him with Lenny Kravitz (after the Bayern win); spending time with his mate Lewis Hamilton at Fashion Week in London; a few weeks later, he was partying until the early hours with U.S. rapper Tyga. Neymar is not at the level of Ronaldinho, who certainly enjoyed the Paris nightlife when he was at the club, but his regular appearances in the showbiz columns rather than the sport pages are a distraction.

His private jet has been busy since he moved to the French capital and he has been back to Barcelona quite a lot as well, most notably to catch up with former teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez just a few months after his departure.

Neymar's adventures in Paris have been different to anything PSG or French football has seen before. He is a world-class superstar and, as expected, brings everything that comes with it. But the Brazilian has also done a lot for the standing of Ligue 1 as well as PSG.

He has certainly made a big mark in his new home already and there is plenty more to come -- PSG will hope that it is the motivated Neymar who strides onto the pitch against Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League in February. If they are to end the season in contention for Europe's biggest club prize, they will require it.