BRAZILIAN SUPERSTAR Neymar dominated headlines across the globe last summer by engineering a record-breaking €222m move from Barcelona to oil-rich Paris Saint-Germain. He hoped to move out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, lead the Parisians to the Champions League crown, and finally claim that elusive World Player of the Year title.
But the switch has not quite worked out as planned: PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, Neymar is currently injured, and Messi is cruising towards the Ballon d’Or. The rumour mill has now gone into overdrive, suggesting that Neymar will try to force through a move to Real Madrid this summer.
His transfer to PSG was always a huge risk as he traded LaLiga, home of the last four Champions League winners, for Ligue 1. The French top flight pales in comparison to its Spanish counterpart, and exploits in Paris do not garner as much respect as those achieved in Madrid or Barcelona. PSG were always going to win the Ligue 1 title after shattering the world transfer record to sign Neymar and then forking out almost as much to snap up Monaco wunderkind Kylian Mbappé. It was Champions League or bust for Neymar, and his dream was crushed when PSG were taken apart by Real Madrid in the last 16.
The penny may have dropped then that, despite their vast spending power, PSG are still not on the same level as the La iga giants. To secure individual glory, Neymar had to leave the Messi-centric Barcelona, but he could now find himself going to their fiercest rivals. He would by no means be the first as the likes of Michael Laudrup, Luís Figo and Ronaldo all played for Barça and then went on to shine for Los Blancos. Another Ronaldo, Cristiano, now rules the roost at Real Madrid, and the World Player of the Year award is a straight fight between him and Messi each year. Neymar is desperate to force his way into the picture and he could find joy at Real Madrid.
Ronaldo is three years older than Messi and his power appears to be waning. He can still turn it on in the big games, but over the course of a long and gruelling season, Real Madrid can no longer rely on him. Real may have won the Champions League for the last two seasons, but this year they are 15 points behind Barcelona in LaLiga. A summer of inactivity in the transfer market has clearly hurt them, and they know they need to invest heavily to keep up with Barca this time around.
Neymar is said to be top of their list and it could make sense for all parties. PSG would be freed of a sulking star that does not want to be there, Real Madrid would gain the sort of player that can drive them to glory and Neymar would be able to shine alongside or instead of the ageing Ronaldo.
Neymar will be back for the World Cup and Brazil are the favourites to win it after their 1-0 friendly win over defending champions Germany this week. Bookmakers will have odds for incoming games of Neymar, check them out and you will see that he will be the favourite to score first, and Brazil will be favourites to win. He could massively boost his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or by thriving at the World Cup, but he also needs to be playing club football at the highest level. Right now, PSG are not there, but Real Madrid certainly are, so you could well see Neymar dominating headlines once again this summer.