The €222m Man
After weeks of speculation and media gossip, PSG, Barca and Neymar have blown the transfer records out of the water with one of the most dramatic moves in football history. When the story first emerged many people discarded it as a wild and silly rumour, but now we find the MSN trio one man short and Paris a superstar heavier.
Messi, Suarez and Neymar were the perfect attacking trio, maybe the greatest front three of all-time, and Neymar’s creativity, pace and finishing was a lethal and vital part of that set-up. Seeing these three play together was special and they scored a crazy 253 goals between them in 113 matches. It only lasted 3 seasons, but it truly is the end of an era.
When Barcelona officially dropped Qatar Airways as a sponsor, that meant Qatar no longer had access to two of the most marketable footballers in the world in Messi and Neymar. With the World Cup heading to Qatar in 2022, Qatar wants to grow its global brand, and having Neymar as an ambassador will help them achieve that. Perhaps the Neymar saga was payback time after Barca dropped their sponsorship.
Barca and Real Madrid are historically the giants of football that every player would love to play for. When a player leaves it is normally because they are no longer wanted, not because they want to leave. Barca have been stung on two other occasions by Figo and Ronaldo who both went to their rivals, and this will go down as a third time a star player has left Barcelona against the will of the club.
Why did Neymar agree to leave? He wants to win the Ballon d’Or and the only way he has a chance of doing that is by stepping out of Messi’s shadow. Neymar Senior has said in the past that his son needs to come out of the shadow of Messi to be the best, and that will be the goal now.
He’s the best player below the age of 30 and that makes him the most marketable football player for the next few years. He’s already the main man in the national team and now he’ll be playing with a few of his fellow Brazilians at PSG, which means he is likely to fit in and feel like a star instantly.
People will always talk about greed and question the motivations behind big money transfers – and this one is astronomical sums of money – but if Neymar helps PSG win the Champions League and becomes the best player in the world people might change their minds. Even when Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Madrid people said it was a lot to do with money, but the money for Ronaldo was well spent if you look at what they have achieved with him in the team.