The Neymar to Barcelona saga has dragged on for ages as the Brazilian sought to get away from PSG’s clutches. Unfortunately for the playmaker his dream return to the La Liga giants is not happening any time soon.
Instead, Neymar is stuck in Paris for another year after Barcelona’s interest waned over the weekend. So, in other words, the unhappy marriage will drag on for a third year in a row. As a result, this third year may be one of the most difficult ones yet, especially for all the ones concerned.
Neymar’s decision to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 was motivated by a desire to establish himself as the best player in the world, but a troubled time in the French capital has left the Brazilian at risk of wasting the best years of his career.
The closure of the transfer window has finally brought to an end the lengthy saga surrounding the future of the world’s most expensive player, who will stay at PSG having failed to get the move back to Barcelona he craved.
Neymar helped PSG to two more league titles, but those come almost as of right anyway. In the Champions League, it was a familiar tale of failure. Neymar was at least there as PSG was beaten by Real Madrid in the last 16 in 2017-18, although his performance was unconvincing, numerous bright moments undermined by the fact that he seemed to unbalance the side. It’s something he so often does for Brazil, making it very one dimensional and rarely executing his defensive responsibilities.
The following year, as PSG went out on the same stage to Manchester United, Neymar was on the touchline, ruled out of the game with a foot injury. That has been an all-too-familiar story. So far, Neymar has missed 52 games through injury across just over two seasons in Paris. His rage at the penalty that gave Man United an unexpected away-goals victory means he will be suspended for three Champions League games, while he picked up a three-game ban in France after an altercation with a fan following the final of last season’s Coupe de France.
Why Barcelona wanted back a player who had essentially betrayed the club is ostensibly mystifying. However, it appears Neymar is still on good terms with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and the duo wanted to resurrect their M-S-N partnership. All this despite the fact that the La Liga giants signed Antoine Griezmann this summer.
But Barcelona’s resources are limited. PSG reportedly wanted €150 million to save at least some face, a figure that Barcelona could not raise in cash. It offered Ivan Rakitic in part exchange, something which the Croatian, who has been widely criticized by Barcelona fans, was open to doing. But an attempt to make up the bulk of the remaining fee with Ousmane Dembele faltered when the French winger insisted he wanted to stay at Camp Nou.