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Neymar's football brain runs on auto-pilot: Japan neurologists

Japanese neurologists decided to study what happens in Brazilian superstar Neymar's brain when his feet are at work. 

So they put him and some amateur players  into functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines and got them to do some footwork while doing brain scans.

The results showed that Neymar’s brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 percent the level of amateur players, suggesting he plays as if on auto-pilot, said the neurologists.

The scans conducted on Neymar, 22, in February this year point to the Barcelona striker’s wizardry being uncannily natural.

“From MRI images we discovered Neymar’s brain activity to be less than 10 percent of an amateur player,” researcher Eiichi Naito ​of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology told AFP on Friday.

“It is possible genetics is a factor, aided by the type of training he does.”

Naito told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun newspaper: “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.”

The findings were published in the Swiss journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Asked whether Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo might display similar test results, Naito said: “It is fair to assume they would show similar levels given their footwork and technique.” -- AFP