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19 July 2017

Why potential £195m Paris Saint-Germain bid for Neymar makes sense for the club and player with Brazil ace determined to get his country back on Ballon d’Or podium

BRAZIL came to consider the Fifa World Player of the Year award as its own private property.

Between 1994 and 2007, five Brazilian stars took home the trophy on 8 different occasions – Romario, Rivaldo and Kaka won it once, Ronaldinho twice and Ronaldo three times.

Neymar has been relaxing in Ibiza before he begins pre-season training with Barcelona
Neymar has been relaxing in Ibiza before he begins pre-season training with Barcelona
Splash News
Neymar moved to Barcelona from Santos in 2013
Neymar moved to Barcelona from Santos in 2013
Getty Images

It set the bar for the next generation.

Over a decade ago when Robinho crossed the Atlantic, it was taken for granted in Brazil that his turn to win the award would soon come.

Instead of which, his career never really recovered from the revelation that Real Madrid were prepared to use him as a makeweight to sign Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar grew up idolising Robinho.  He was not going to make the same mistake.

His career was designed to be taken step-by-step.

There was no rush to move to Europe, and when he made the move four years ago, Barcelona was an obvious destination.

Rivaldo won the Ballon d'Or for his exploits in 1999
Rivaldo won the Ballon d’Or for his exploits in 1999
Reuters
Kaka picked up the prize for the world's best footballer in 2007
Kaka picked up the prize for the world’s best footballer in 2007
Reuters
Neymar has closely followed the career of idol Robinho
Neymar has closely followed the career of idol Robinho
EFE

He could develop in the shadow of Lionel Messi, and ease himself in gradually to the challenge.

But in the long term, the shadow of Messi would not always be so refreshing.

Neymar would want to strike out and find his own place in the sun – the only way that he could get his hands on that world player of the year award.

He was never going to win it if he was not even the outstanding player in his own team.

There were three possible scenarios; Messi might move on, Neymar might replace him as the team’s leading figure, or Neymar might move on.

The third always looked the most likely – hence the channel that Manchester United have tried to keep open with the 25 year old Brazilian.

And it is almost certainly no surprise that news of unrest in the Neymar camp has come soon after the announcement of Messi’s new contract.

Option one is now off the table, option two still seems unlikely for the next couple of years – leaving option three as a genuine possibility, with speculation arising that Paris Saint-Germain might be prepared to pay his giant £195million buy-out clause.


Ronaldinho won the Ballon d'Or in 2005
Ronaldinho won the Ballon d’Or in 2005
Reuters
Neymar has been spending time in Ibiza with pals ahead of the new season
Neymar has been spending time in Ibiza with pals ahead of the new season
Splash News
Brazilian Ronaldo also had to move to cement his place in footballing history
Brazilian Ronaldo also had to move to cement his place in footballing history
AP:Associated Press

A move to France would carry a number of possible advantages.

Neymar could be the team’s main star.

He would be part of a club that is a growing force in the Champions League, with realistic hopes of winning the trophy.

And he might be able to dose himself in the domestic league, leaving some gas in the tank for next year’s World Cup.

From the point of view of PSG, they have had a grandstand view of Neymar’s capabilities.

Instagram Photo

The Brazilian’s finest 15 minutes in a Barcelona shirt came in the closing stages of that extraordinary comeback in the Champions League, when Neymar took full responsibility for ensuring that an almost unthinkable comeback became a reality.

He brought PSG’s 2017 Champions League challenge to an end; perhaps he might tip the balance in their favour in 2018.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are making confident noises.

Vice president Jordi Mestre declared himself “200 per cent confident” that Neymar will not be moving.

But if Neymar does stay put in this window, then Mestre can have the same degree of certainty that the speculation is not going to go away.

Neymar scores unbelievable 50-yard free-kick OVER Hollywood Boulevard


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