Things have simply not gone to plan in the 2 years since Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in a record breaking €222 million deal. The mercurial Brazilian arrived in Paris to unprecedented fanfare but PSG’s failure to make a meaningful challenge for the Champions League coupled with Neymar’s continued antics have turned this once adoring relationship toxic.
At the time, the Neymar signing seemed like a perfect fit for all parties involved, except Barcelona of course. PSG got a bonafide superstar who could finally take them over the top in the Champions League and Neymar could now establish himself as the best player in the world, free of Leo Messi’s shadow. However, a combination of Neymar’s continual disrespect towards PSG and French football as a whole and two separate long-term injuries gradually turned the PSG fans against him. This growing animosity towards the Brazilian culminated last week in PSG’s Ligue 1 opener when supporters unveiled vulgar banners and chanted obscenities towards the Brazilian that should not be repeated.
According to various reports, Neymar communicated his desire to leave PSG a few months ago but out of respect for his employers, did not make any statements publicly. The straw that finally broke the camel’s back came earlier this summer when a reported asked Neymar about his favorite moment as a professional.
“When we won against PSG with Barcelona it was completely… we all went crazy afterwards. I believe it was the best feeling for all of us. The ‘Remontada’ against Paris, what we felt when we scored the sixth goal…I have never felt anything like this. It was incredible!”
Barcelona’s 6-1 victory over PSG after losing 4-0 in the first leg of their tie is a Champions League classic and one of the best days in the history of FC Barcelona and likewise, one of the darkest in PSG’s. For Neymar to cite such an embarrassing moment for PSG while heavily linked to Barcelona was simply inexcusable for both the club’s hierarchy and fans alike.
Neymar’s attitude has been an issue for PSG since his arrival and with Kylian Mbappe’s rapid rise to superstardom, the club agree that now might be the right time to cut their losses and move on. PSG however, refuse to sell on the cheap and will only agree a deal if it meets their valuation of Neymar’s price. PSG Sporting Director Leonardo spoke publicly on the matter for the first time and opened to door to an exit but reiterated the club’s stance.
“Talks more advanced than before, but there’s no agreement. We will see what happens, everybody needs the future to be resolved. Neymar is still a PSG player and we shouldn’t forget he still has three seasons left on his contract”.
For months, a return to Barcelona seemed like the most likely outcome = but since the Catalan club signed Antoine Griezmann earlier this summer and disagree drastically with PSG on Neymar’s value, a deal has yet to be agreed. Meanwhile Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez has been a huge fan of Neymar for years and dreams of bringing him to the Bernabeu. Madrid’s offer of 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric plus €120 million is much closer to PSG’s valuation than anything Barcelona have offered, putting them on the front foot, but anything can happen in the coming weeks.