Neymar is a step away from starting his fifth season with Barcelona. The Brazilian was one of the icons at the Rakuten presentation with Barcelona in Tokyo and afterwards has returned to training with apparent normality. Nothing strange. However, there is something that seems uncomfortable for Neymar at Barcelona and he is listening increasingly closely to the echoes that come from one part of his advisory group that tell him to make his stay at Barcelona temporary, rather than forever-lasting as in the case of Leo Messi.
Neymar has had suitors every summer since he arrived at Barcelona, and before, with Real Madrid’s move, but nothing has happened. This summer the interest in him has increased and he, according to some parties, has been left wanting to move.
You have to take a look back to understand what is going on with him, because he is unsettled. Neymar has won all the titles that he wanted to, except one, the Ballon d’Or, although he came third in 2015.
He has been champion of Spain, Europe, the Club World Cup… everything. What he has been told is that “by the side of Messi you will always be second, you will always be in his shadow”.
At 25, Neymar for the first time in a long time, has listened with more interest than ever for the offers and calls that he has received from coaches and presidents. Holidays have been long and he has had time to reflect, time to think about the teams that are looking for new world icons - Man City, Man United, PSG and even Madrid. These stars would serve to win titles but also to sell shirts and boost the international image and modernity of the side.
During these weeks Neymar has not spoken much to please Cules. “Who knows what will happen tomorrow? I’ve adapted, but anything can happen, who knows. Manchester? Yes… or Eibar,” he said on July 10.
Or how about when in September 2016 he was asked about the interest of PSG and Neymar admitted there had been contact, and his agent said that he had met with Nasser Al Khelaifi “and Neymar is weighing up the chance to be the best paid player in the world”.
Or when SPORT revealed at the end o last season the calls between Jose Mourinho and the Brazilian, to convince him to leave and take Ibrahimovic’s place.
Barcelona, for their part, consider the Brazilian tied down after he signed a new deal on October 21, 2016, to stay at the club until June 30, 2021. He has a salary of 15m euros a season and a release fee clause of 200m this summer, 222 in 2018, 222 for 2019 and 250 for the final three seasons.
Signing a player like Neymar from Barcelona will not be easy because the investment would have to be stratospheric, but then don’t forget the case of Mbappe, a winger who when it comes to achievements is still a nobody in European football - and they are talking about figures of 130 million euros for him. Barcelona must be alert.