When Neymar took the plunge to join PSG it was meant to lead to them winning the Champions League and him securing the Ballon d’Or. However, the relationship has since turned sour, something that was never meant to happen, neither for PSG nor Neymar.
When the French Champions paid a world-record fee to bring the Brazilian to Ligue 1, each of the parties had their own scenarios in mind. For PSG, it showed their intent to challenge with the best and richest clubs in Europe, signing one of the most exciting talents in world football and luring him away from one of European football’s superpowers. Neymar should have been the final piece in an expensively assembled squad, built to win the Champions League, the only trophy that matters to their Qatari owners.
For Neymar, who had already won La Liga twice and the Champions League with Barcelona, he had to emerge from the shadow of Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, whom he had formed a formidable strike force with. The move to PSG would see Neymar finally become the main man and give him a chance to win the Ballon d’Or, a trophy he craves to land. The team would play for him and he could lead PSG to their first Champions League triumph, taking all the plaudits along the way.
Now, it seems, this plot and love affair is heading towards a very bitter end. PSG have failed to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the past two seasons and Neymar, who enjoyed a bright start, scoring plenty of goals, went off the boil, always seeming to be absent when the big games came along. He was initially loved by PSG fans, but that adoration has now been switched to Kylian Mbappé, who is still only 20 and still on the rise.
That has put Neymar’s nose out of place, as he is no longer top dog again. The talk from his representatives is that he wants to return to Barcelona. PSG expected him to appear for the start of pre-season training with the rest of the squad, but he stayed in Brazil.
The club issued a concise statement, saying they “deplore the situation and will take appropriate measures”, which means a hefty fine is likely. The conflict is now very public and for the first time, PSG have made it clear the Brazilian can go.
The French champions will let Neymar leave if they get a decent transfer fee. Barcelona are interested but now they know that PSG will be glad to see the back of him it should make for some juicy negotiations. However, media reports suggest that Barcelona would struggle to find the funds needed to sign Neymar and they might try to come up with some form of player-plus-cash offer.
Wherever Neymar ends up for the start of the new season, his behaviour has been that of a spoilt brat, something we are seeing more and more from the hugely paid footballer of today. He may have talent, but he’s needed quality around him. I’d be surprised if there are many clubs forming a queue to sign him after his disrespectful conduct towards his current employers.