Real Madrid move seems like destiny for Neymar

It has become the transfer saga of the summer. From the moment Neymar made clear his desire to leave Paris Saint-Germain, the gossip column has been full of speculation linking the Brazilian with a return to Barcelona. And yet in recent weeks Real Madrid have replaced their rivals as Neymar’s most likely destination.

Indeed, it emerged earlier this week that the capital giants have sent a delegation to Paris to thrash out a deal for the Brazilian forward. With Barcelona struggling to put together a package that is deemed worthy to PSG, Real Madrid are looking to steal a march on their fiercest rivals.

This move – Neymar to PSG – has been in the pipeline for a long time. In fact, it was tentatively speculated when the Brazilian made the move to the French capital two years ago that he was only doing so to ultimately a forge a path to the Santiago Bernabeu. After all, it’s nearly impossible to move directly between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

There’s something that makes Neymar’s move to Real Madrid inevitable. They are a club that revels in its status as a club that makes the flashiest signings, that lures Galacticos, and there’s no denying that Neymar would be a Galactico at the Santiago Bernabeu. He would be welcomed like no other player has been in the Spanish capital since Cristiano Ronaldo first pitched up a decade ago.

But a switch to Real Madrid is the last thing Neymar needs at this critical juncture of his career. Not so long ago, the Brazilian was viewed as the world’s next best football player in-waiting. A future Ballon d’Or winner. The last two years at PSG have derailed all that, though.

Neymar needs home comforts and that’s something he would get at Barcelona, a club he previously found his best form at, a club where his best friends (Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez) still play for. There’s reason to believe that the 27-year-old could pick up where he left off in the summer of 2017.

At Real Madrid, there would be a number of unknowns. Where would Neymar fit in given that the capital club has already spent big on Eden Hazard this summer? Could the Brazilian play through the middle? And if so, where does that leave Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic, another expensive summer signing? If Neymar is to return to Spain this summer, and he has a say in his destination, there should only be one choice.

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How will Barcelona use all its attacking talent this season?

Antoine Griezmann

Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho.

Not a bad selection, is it?

They are the attacking players available within Barcelona’s first-team squad at the moment.

If the club had the necessary funds this summer, you could have added Neymar‘s name to that list.

Antoine Griezmann’s signing from LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid freshens up the frontline with the Frenchman expected to make it into the starting eleven right from the off. Continue reading

Is Barcelona’s move for Neymar on the verge of collapse?

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It was a move that seemed unlikely even as recently as a few weeks ago, but the Neymar saga is destined to be the soap opera of this summer’s transfer window.

Clearly, the Brazilian wants out at Paris Saint-Germain and, if media reports are to be believed, Barcelona are the only club he wants to go to.

That the Catalans have even considered re-hiring a player who burned every bridge in the book when he left, is a surprise, but it just shows you that football as a business is a breed apart. Continue reading

Final nail in PSG’s coffin Neymar fails to return back to France

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The relationship between PSG and Neymar has reached a new low after the Brazilian failed to show up for training on Monday.

PSG’s official statement said: ‘On Monday 8 July Neymar da Silva Santos Junior was due to return to pre-season activities with the Paris Saint-Germain senior squad. Paris Saint-Germain notes that Neymar Jr was not in attendance at the agreed time and place. This was without the club’s prior authorisation. The club regrets this situation and will therefore take appropriate action.’

The obvious problem is that Neymar was never going to be back in France with PSG a day after Brazil won the Copa America in Brazil. True Neymar has been injured for the tournament but it was obvious that he was going to be at the final, Brazil’s first in 12 years and when the team won it is again obvious that he is naturally going to celebrate with the team, to think otherwise means you want to start an excuse for an argument.

Some could argue that why would PSG want Neymar back in training if he is injured. But today in Paris was all about medical check ups, and so in theory Neymar should have been there. But it is clear that there has been a breakdown in communications between club and player. It now looks inevitable that Neymar will be fined for his actions, not that he will care, he will just enjoy to celebrate with Brazil.

At the same time Neymar could have contacted the club and told them in advance of his plans and this is what has clearly irked them. There is an underlying cause of course and that is PSG want to keep their player whilst Neymar wants to leave and return back to Barcelona, could this be part of his chess move to force PSG’s hand so he can move back to La Liga?

This could well be the final nail in the coffin and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Neymar really has played his last game for PSG. The catch in all of this is can Barcelona afford both Griezmann and Neymar, the truth of the matter has to be no, and the deal looks like it will only go through if PSG will take on at least 3 of Barcelona’s players in some kind of player swap deal plus cash.

The summer is hot but in Paris and in Barcelona it just got hotter.

Brazil win Copa America, Lionel Messi is sent off and Gary Medel loses the plot

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The Copa America 2019 is over and the first reaction is to say congratulations to Brazil, who without Neymar who was injured before the tournament won it. This was Brazil’s first international trophy since 2007 as they beat Peru 3-1.

The talking point of the competition though hasn’t really been about Brazil who conceded just 1 goal on their way to winning but about Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Yet again Messi has seen a competition pass him by and an opportunity to win something with the national team looks like a dream that will never realise itself for one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

But Argentina did improve as the competition went on, and did play well against Brazil even though they ended up losing 2-0. During that game they hit the woodwork twice, including a shot from Messi and claimed that they should have had two clear penalties. This is when the paranoia clicked in and Messi suggested that everything was being done to ensure Brazil win the competition in their own country. That sounds like a stretch but at the same time it could be suggested that VAR isn’t working.

VAR is at the teething stage and needs many more modifications to make it work 100% of the time. This is for another story, but as far as VAR goes it seems that Messi does have a point.

So Argentina were denied to play in the final which meant that they played in the match that no one really wants the 3rd place play-off, only it would be against a fierce rival in Chile. It seems that every time the nations play each other there is fireworks and their Copa America meeting would be no different. On top of that is the fact that there is no love lost between the nations after Chile beat Argentina in the final of the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals.

It all came to ahead when Messi chased the ball out of play but got too close to Chile’s Gary Medal who was trying to shepherd the ball away. Medel reacted by body checking Messi not once, not twice but three times and then putting his head into his. The menace in Medel’s face as Messi just stood there was frightening. The referee ran over to both players and sent them both off.

Messi had done little to nothing to get his first red card in 14 years, while Medel’s was justified. At the same time it may have made sense to send both players off as the match could have continued to boil over had one stayed on.

Argentina won the game 2-1, but they would have wished that victory to be exchanged for the two final losses they have had to endure against them.

Argentina in a way go away from this competition not sad but seeing that there has been progress in a team who are on the face of it quite average. Messi will be hoping that his nation can rise from this and get better, but they clearly will need a couple of more players to break through into the squad if they are soon to win trophies.

Attack still the best form of defence at Barcelona

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Here we are just a week away from the start of pre-season for FC Barcelona, and with the focus at the club very much on the front line.

Though a left-back is still sought to provide competition for Jordi Alba, the technical department seem hell bent on getting attacking signings in through the front door first.

Didn’t anyone tell the club that any title-winning team worth its salt is built on a solid defence?

Barca did ok for the most part in that respect in 2018/19, but when the going got tough… Continue reading

Decision-time for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele

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Barcelona’s young French star Ousmane Dembele faces a potentially make-or-break season in 2019/20.

The former Rennes and Borussia Dortmund winger has found himself playing second fiddle to stars such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez since his arrival at the Catalan club in August 2017.

In his first LaLiga season (2017/18), Dembele scored three goals and provided six assists from 17 appearances (12 starts).

Last season, the French international was hampered by injury for parts of the campaign. He played 29 times for Barcelona, making 20 starts in 2018/19, scoring eight goals and laying on five assists. Continue reading

Kylian Mbappe should be Real Madrid’s number one long term target

Eden Hazard’s transfer to Real Madrid was a number of years in the making. The Belgian had been eyed up by the Spanish club for a long time before Florentino Perez finally sanctioned the £100 million fee to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. This is often the way of the mega-money deals Real Madrid have a long history of.

Take their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance. Originally, Real Madrid wanted to sign the Portuguese forward from Manchester United in the summer of 2008 just after he’d led the Old Trafford club to the Champions League title. Instead, they had to wait until the following summer to get their man.

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These transfers are not easy to pull off and take time to put together. This goes some way to explaining why just weeks after the signing of Hazard talk has already turned to who Real Madrid could target as their next long term addition. Many see Neymar as the man destined to one day pull on the famous white shirt.

Indeed, Real Madrid’s interest in the Brazilian has been well documented with speculation heightened following the news that Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. But is he really who Real Madrid should be lining up as their number one target for the long term?

Kylian Mbappe has also been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu and he, over Neymar, should be who Real Madrid prioritise. While there are questions over Neymar’s character and attitude, with his form suffering as a consequence over the past two seasons, Mbappe is widely seen as the face of the future of the sport.

What’s more, Mbappe is a Real Madrid fan, supporting the club since childhood. There have been suggestions that he would be willing to force through a move to the Santiago Bernabeu with the forward reportedly refusing to enter renegotiation talks over a new contract with PSG. This puts Real Madrid in a good position.

Not so long ago, Neymar looked like the future of the sport. At Barcelona, he was the next best player in the world. PSG broke the Brazilian, though. Mbappe, however, has kept his star rising. He is already a World Cup winner and one of the best strikers in the game, but his upward trajectory could still carry him much further.

Real Madrid is a club that prides itself on signing the best players on the planet. They have forged a whole identity from this notion and for many Neymar fits the bill. But does he fit the bill as well as Mbappe? If Real Madrid are drawing up a transfer plan for the long term, they should target the latter over the former.

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Neymar return a massive risk for Barcelona

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It was an event that happened *only* two years ago, but it was the move which has changed the football transfer market forever. It significantly bloated transfer valuations and produced a domino effect which saw a further influx of money move around the top end of world football, making figures even more eye-watering than they had been previously.

This is of course referencing Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017. It was a staggering €222m deal – more than doubling the then world record transfer, which had taken Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United 12 months previously. Continue reading

Could Barcelona’s ‘decision’ on Neymar leave Griezmann in limbo?

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This summer’s transfer window is shaping up to be one of the most explosive in history, and in more ways than one.

We’re still over a week from the window officially opening yet deals have already been agreed across Europe, and clubs are just waiting for July 1 to have them rubber stamped.

One player who is definitely on the move is Antoine Griezmann, but his treatment of Barcelona last summer looks like it could come back to haunt him. Continue reading