Neymar tears up easily. The Brazilian is affectionate, close and sentimental for what has been and gone.
Days before he informed Lionel Messi that he was leaving Barcelona, he confused Gerard Pique into his ‘Se Queda’ tweet following intimate moments with all those who he’d preferred to have stayed with at the Camp Nou.
Neymar, as witnesses attest, wept on two occasions when attempting to break his deal with Paris Saint-Germain, asking club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to pull him out of the move.
Agent and father Neymar Sr. did not stop. He was everywhere at once and liked that his son was the centre of attention, that he was on the front pages of every newspaper, listing the clubs falling at his feet to play for them. It was like that when the winger joined Santos and it was so when he left for PSG.
It does not take an expert illustrator to depict Neymar’s last visit to his Barcelona colleagues although it did come with pleas to end his switch to France.
“Remember me, I want to come back,” he told those inside the club who had been happy to see him leave once the player and his father’s initial intentions became clear.
Nostalgia and the pressure of being the most expensive player in the world will endure, but being second is not an option at PSG. Neymar is pampered and looked after by coach Unai Emery, who will do anything to ensure the Brazilian is part of the club’s boom period.
The overall plan remains having Neymar as the epicentre of an all-conquering side where Edinson Cavani is the goalscorer and Kylian Mbappe is the hot young talent. Behind them, Marco Verratti and Adrien Rabiot provide the balance to the attack as the final tactical kinks are ironed out. Most important of all for chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is Neymar.
Real Madrid have been placed in the picture, but they are not close at all. Los Blancos are always attentive to the best players, especially one like Neymar, but there is nothing in his potential signing at all. Absolutely nothing.
For now, it remains an impossible transfer and while tomorrow is another day, neither Neymar Sr. nor Wagner Ribeiro are getting involved like they did at Barcelona, with no release clause to even consider.
For Real to pull off signing Neymar, a thousand things have to happen and none of which have even begun to occur yet.
Now in Paris, Neymar pursues global leadership, to be hailed as the new king of football by dragging PSG with him to the very top. He left Catalonia to escape Messi’s shadow and the beginnings of this new life were never going to be easy.
Indeed, it was not always easy in Barcelona, where the Argentine appeared in the tagline to every question that Neymar faced and was always No. 1.
But it is the World Cup which is at the end of this tunnel for the Brazilian. After falling in 2014, Neymar already felt that he could win it by becoming the best player on earth and, while people speak of crisis today, tomorrow holds a new dawn which can be defined by celebrations and silverware.
Nothing will change Neymar’s focus and the same can be said for who the PSG star is as a person.
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