Could Neymar actually leave FC Barcelona?
The transfer rumour mill has once again linked Neymar with a move away from Barcelona. Every summer since the Brazilian sensation joined the Catalans he has been linked to a move away from the Camp Nou.
This summer reports in Brazil suggest Paris Saint-Germain are willing to meet Neymar’s €222 million buyout clause and that the player is open to the move.
At the moment its purely speculation but why not examine the reasons why Neymar might move and the reasons that would see him stay at Barca.
Stuck in Messi’s shadow
The recurring theme each time Neymar is linked to a move away is that he feels he is stuck in the shadow of teammate Lionel Messi. Many feel Neymar is one of the only players in the world who could win the Ballon d’Or while Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are still playing. The question that is repeatedly asked is how can Neymar be the best player in the world if he isn’t the best player in his team?
In reality Neymar does not feel he is stuck in Messi’s shadow. The Argentine was one of the biggest factors that saw Neymar choose Barcelona when he left Santos. He has previously stated “Barca is more than a club and a great team and I want to contribute to Messi staying the best for many years.”
When asked about the Ballon d’Or Neymar has said “I have never been concerned about winning the Ballon d’Or or being the best player in the world. The best player is already here and that’s Messi. And now I can see him from close up and help him.”
Influence of Neymar Santos Sr.
Neymar’s father has had a huge influence on his career. His father however is quite a controversial figure, driven by money. Neymar’s parents received €40 million when he left Santos for Barca. Ever since Neymar Sr. has been looking for his next big payday.
He has lived a life of luxury since his son’s move to Barca. He has held numerous parties and even lashed out at a cameraman and reporters who questioned him outside a Barcelona restaurant. Neymar has a very close relationship with his father and both have been seen partying together.
Neymar Sr. has often given noncommittal answers when questioned on his son’s future which only adds fuel to the transfer rumours. Neymar’s father will always support a move if he will benefit from it. The question nobody can answer is will Neymar make his own decisions or will he do what his father tells him?
PSG’s Brazilian community
Neymar likes to associate himself with Brazilians. When he first joined Barca he became close friends with Dani Alves and Rafinha. Last season he shared many photos on social media alongside Leo Baptistão of Espanyol. PSG is currently home to four Brazilians: Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura, Marquinhos and Dani Alves. The lure of four national teammates could certainly entice Neymar to move to the French capital but it wont be the deciding factor.
Neymar forms part of football’s most potent attacking trio alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The ‘MSN’ are entering their fourth season together and anyone who has watched this trio develop knows just how lethal they can be. They complement each other and by and large if one is having an off day the other two will pick up the slack.
If Neymar moves to PSG he will lose this support. He will become the superstar. The added pressure this brings might be too much for him. He is already the captain of the Brazilian national team and every time he pulls on the Seleção jersey he carries the weight of the nation. At Barcelona he shares the responsibility with Messi and Suarez. If he were to move to PSG he would become the most expensive player in the world which would only add further pressure.
Neymar is an exceptional player but there is no doubt Messi and Suarez have helped him develop and at 25 he still has a lot to learn.
One of the biggest reasons why Neymar won’t leave Barcelona for PSG is his ambition. At Barcelona he gets to compete in one of the best leagues in world football. La Liga sees Barcelona take on the likes of Real and Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. He has won La Liga twice, the Copa del Ray three times and has one Champions League title to his name.
Last season PSG came second to AS Monaco and once again failed in the Champions League blowing a first leg 4-0 lead to lose 6-1 on aggregate to Barcelona, Neymar was influential in the Barca fightback. Without a doubt Neymar would enjoy his time in France. He would easily finish as the top scorer but of course he would only receive half point in the race for the golden shoe. The French league is one of the least competitive in Europe.
Neymar enjoys his football but he also likes a challenge. Ligue 1 does not present a challenge.
I think it is highly unlikely Neymar will leave Barcelona this summer. He has been included in the squad list for Barca’s US tour and seems eager to work under new coach Ernesto Valverde. However, I wouldn’t rule out a move away from the Catalan capital in the next two or three seasons.