If Neymar really wants to eclipse Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, a move to Real Madrid may just be the way to do it, DEAN WORKMAN explores.
The Brazilian’s ambition to become the world’s best was one of the determining factors in his decision to leave Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain.
Neymar performed well before his season-ending injury in February, scoring 28 goals and providing 16 assists, but even if he had stayed fit he would still probably be behind Messi, Ronaldo and even Mohamed Salah in the race for the Ballon d’Or, footballs top individual award.
While PSG won a treble of domestic titles, which is not uncommon in the largely uncompetitive French league, they again fell short in the Champions League. Questions were again asked about their ability to beat Europe’s top teams and rumours began to circle about Neymar’s future.
First, PSG head coach Unai Emery revealed after clinching the Ligue 1 title that Neymar had not congratulated his team on their triumph. ‘I spoke with Neymar two or three weeks ago to see how he was and what idea he had of joining the group in training,’ said the former Sevilla coach.
The rumours then intensified this week when Emery, who is leaving PSG at the end of the season, said that Neymar has not completely settled in Paris. ‘He goes to his house and shuts himself off,’ Emery said.
‘He’s not there every day, but he’s not yet immersed himself one hundred percent in Paris, the French league, the difficulties, the different football.
‘It’s all a process, and at PSG we have been integrating him into the group, where we want him to feel welcome. He has to be patient, we’ve done 50% of the work with him, the other 50% is missing at the moment.’
The one club that has been linked the most with Neymar, almost since he left Barcelona, has been Real Madrid.
With a move directly from the Catalan side to their arch rivals from Madrid almost impossible in today’s age, was Neymar’s plan to use PSG as a stepping stone to engineer a move to the 12-time European Champions?
If the former Santos man did make the move to the Spanish capital, he would be in the prime position to challenge the Messi/Ronaldo duopoly of the Ballon d’Or.
Not only would he be in the same team as the Portuguese captain, which would offer him the direct chance to outshine the ageing Ronaldo, but he would also be going directly up against his former teammate Messi in a similar way to which Ronaldo has for so many years.
It would be a transfer of the biggest magnitude and would probably require Real to break the 222 million euro transfer record set by the Brazilians move to PSG, but breaking a transfer record is nothing new for Madrid.
They have broken the record on five previous occasions with the transfers of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
The clubs galactico model has been built on signing the worlds best players and if the transfer had to go through Neymar could become the biggest galactico signing of all time.