Neymar, in Brazil's opening game of the Fifa World Cup 2018, was his usual self – several tricks and flicks, looking to take on the opposition and falling down in "agony" at every possible opportunity. Brazil's goalscorer on the evening in Rostov, though, was different – there were the tricks and flicks and while his performance wasn't as front and centre as the one of his team-mate, Philippe Coutinho was quietly impressive.

The goal the Barcelona forward scored was typical Coutinho, the kind the playmaker has scored time and again in a Liverpool shirt, before his move to Spain at the start of this year.

But what stood out from his performance was the fact that it was without too much fuss. There was no "look at me, I am such a great player," about him every time he had the ball.

For Coutinho, it was about being as efficient as possible, whereas you wonder if that is always the case with Neymar.

There is no doubting the fact that the Brazil talisman's biggest aim is to win the World Cup, but you do wonder if he gets caught up in the love of the spotlight a little too often.

Valon Behrami Switzerland Coutinho Neymar Brazil
You can see the smiles on Switzerland players' faces after Neymar goes down for the umpteenth time, while Philippe Coutinho looks keen to just get on with the gameShaun Botterill/Getty Images

Now, there is no doubt that Switzerland clearly targeted him as the danger man for Brazil, and he was fouled on several occasions, but his reactions to those fouls is what makes Neymar such a difficult player to admire – you could see the "this is over-the-top ridiculous" look on Valon Behrami's face every time the Brazilian went down theatrically.

Skills and talent is fine, but what makes Lionel Messi so loved is that humbleness on the pitch, that feeling that he, despite all his talent and that ridiculous fan following, still respects the game, and does not make it about him at every moment, and all he wants to do is get on with playing and scoring goals and laying on assists for his team-mates.

Even Cristiano Ronaldo might seem arrogant and a little selfish at times, especially when it comes to finding the back of the net, but you don't see him make the game about him every single minute.

Neymar, if he is to take that world's best player mantle from Messi and Ronaldo, needs to understand being great is not about pretending to be the modern-day Maradona, where he gets kicked out of every game – he gets fouled, but nothing like Maradona had to suffer – it is about being effective.

And at the end of the day, Coutinho was the more effective player, without the fuss – Neymar even played on with a couple of holes in his socks just to show the world how much he was being targeted by Switzerland.

Coutinho was the one who scored an absolute peach, a curler to beat all curlers. Neymar was creative at times, he did cause a few problems to the Switzerland defence, but had he been more concerned about that final ball or that exquisite finish instead of complaining to the referee every time he went down, he could have been the hero for Brazil on Sunday, the man who scored the winner.

If you want to be the best player in the world, it is about scoring goals and making assists, not rolling on the floor every time the opposition player breathes on you.