Neymar wants to be the best player of the world, to do this he needs to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, and it takes courage for him to do that and he should be applauded for doing so.
Barcelona’s decision to hand Messi a huge new deal earlier this year, showed to Neymar he was still their main man and this is the real reason the Brazilian superstar wants out.
At 25, coming into his peak – he needs to be the central figure, the one who the team is built around and because of this he has little choice but to leave.
Everyone will be quick to claim that his world record transfer to Paris Saint Germain is all about money….but for me it isn’t.
Yes the fact the fee involved, just short of £200million, beats the mark set by Manchester United’s deal for Paul Pogba by over £100million is remarkable – but in modern day football, that is what release clauses are about.
I firmly believe this is not a money driven decision on Neymar’s behalf – even though he will clearly become even richer at PSG and probably won’t have the tax authorities looking so closely at him as they are in Spain – with the taxman there looking at a host of La Liga stars in fine detail, just as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi what this is like.
However, the real motivation here is for Neymar to claim the tag of the world’s greatest – something he will never be able to do at Barcelona whilst Messi is around. If Barcelona win the treble next year and Neymar scores 40 goals, would he really be recognised for this? Probably not, and he knows this.
Back home in Brazil, if you have not won the Ballon d’Or – then you can’t be regarded as a great. It is ten years since a Brazilian has claimed the crown when Kaka took the honours. Before that it was a prize Brazilians took with regularity with Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho also claiming the honour – but it is now a decade since a Samba star got his hand on the Golden Ball.
Now PSG – who already have a real Brazilian flavour to their squad with the likes of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and his good friend Dani Alves in place – have given him the option to become world number one with them.
Some people will claim Ligue 1 is too easy, but just look at last season with Monaco’s win – is La Liga that much more competitive? Not to me. And their real aim is to be the best – which means winning the Champions League.
PSG want Neymar to help take their project to the next level – they have stagnated in recent years. The previous big name arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic did his part, but now Neymar can take them further and push on, and perhaps claim the Holy Grail of European glory.
Neymar has now made the brave decision to leave.
Barcelona had their own brave decision to make over Neymar, but they buckled. They could and should have sold Messi, allowing Neymar to flourish further, but they stuck with the 30-year-old Argentine, and that could be a decision they come to regret.