Is Neymar taking Paris route to Real Madrid?
There may or may not have been a telling moment in the tunnel after the Miami friendly between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Saturday.
Ordinarily the fiercest of rivals, Neymar approached a few players dressed in all white and greeted them with all the warmth of an old friend. This, despite being a pre-season game, was a friendly. There’s no time for warmth.
Some interpreted it as a farewell of sorts, like reminiscing about that one neighbour who always put his knife through your ball when it lands in his garden before moving to a new home. Neymar has enjoyed some great moments against Real Madrid. Only in the Champions League will he be able to meet them at Paris Saint-Germain.
Others, however, used it to plot a route into the future. The true reasons behind Neymar’s looming move to PSG are still largely unknown. The Brazilian is, after all, the next best player in the world in-waiting at Barcelona. He’s not so much the man who would be king, but the man who will be king, with some already considering him on a par with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Money might be the real motivation for Neymar to make the switch to Ligue 1, but what hit would his marketability take as a PSG player rather than a Barca star? A number of his Brazilian friends are also at the Parc des Princes, but is a global superstar of such stature really about to make such a profound decision on his future based on how many people he can get round his house for a FIFA tournament.
So why would Neymar possibly swap the certainty of Barcelona for the risk of PSG? Is it possible that he could be looking beyond the Parisians and to his move after that? Might his exchange with some of the Real Madrid players in the tunnel of the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami hint at something a little deeper?
If Neymar truly wishes to step out of Messi’s shadow, and doesn’t believe he can do so at Barcelona, there’s only one club for him – Real Madrid. That’s the only other platform where he can truly become the greatest player in the world without the help of his Argentine teammate.
The more thought you give the notion, the more it makes sense. Neymar is prime for a Luis Figo. While Messi has only just turned 30, meaning he still has a long time left at the top of the game, Ronaldo is that bit older at 32. Real Madrid are already looking for a replacement, ready to splurge a world record transfer fee on Kylian Mbappe.
Of course, the fallout from Figo’s switch back in 2000 means it’s unlikely there will be another player who moves directly between the two teams again. To make that transfer Neymar would need a stop-off in between and that’s what call PSG could prove to be. The Parc des Princes might just be a holding pen.
Real Madrid have registered an interest in Neymar previously. An enquiry was, reportedly, made last summer, with Barcelona baulking at the suggestion that they would sell one of their best players to their greatest rivals. In fact, Barca baulked at the idea that he would leave Camp Nou for anyone. The paradigm has shifted rather dramatically since then.
It might be the stuff of conspiracy theorists. It might never come to pass, but somebody around Neymar has surely made the suggestion to the player himself that a compelling option becomes open upon leaving Barca for PSG. One that doesn’t even involved PSG.
Culled from Yahoosports