Every Barcelona president has made it their business to leave a legacy. Whether they would like to use FC Barcelona as a stepping stone to politics like Joan Laporta, or just to leave the club they love in a better position (Joan Gamper springs to mind), each president wants to be revered and remembered. Success is the easiest (in theory) way to endear yourself to the fans, and recent times have vindicated it over and over again..
The era of Joan Gaspart left a bitter taste in every Culés mouth, watching Real Madrid succeed is one thing, but watching FC Barcelona fall to such lows was agonising. Equally, those who deliver trophies are loved, such as the aforementioned ex-president, Joan Laporta, who may have run up a massive debt, but is one of the most popular presidents ever.
Though success is not the be-all and end-all of creating a legacy. Exhibiting power is another, vastly important factor. Back in 2003, Laporta after took charge, and almost immediately, he restored the faith of the Barcelona fans. Despite finishing sixth the previous season, he managed to sign one of the world’s premier talents in rising Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho. Beating Manchester United to his signing was a signal of intent, and we all know what happened next.
Then, in 2009, he made Zlatan Ibrahimovic, not only his, but FC Barcelona’s most expensive signing of all-time. It was another powerful message, though the absence of one of his key advisors meant this particular transfer was destined to fail. That key advisor? Sandro Rosell, the same influential figure that lured Ronaldinho in the first place.
He was the one that convinced Laporta to sign Ronaldinho, and the one that ensured the Brazilian signed for FC Barcelona (rather than Manchester United). While I initially opposed his appointment as president, there is no question that the man has displayed fine business acumen, and his signings have been inspired throughout.
So, when I see that FC Barcelona have "agreed to sign Neymar in 2013", it is hard to be wholly unhappy.
Santos reacted to this "news" with an official statement, in which they denied the rumours.
"Because of the special interest manifested in the last few days by the press related to Neymar, Santos Futebol Clube officially informs that the information that it has sold the economic rights of Neymar is not true,"
"Neymar and his family always mention the intention of making the transfer to Europe at some point in the future as part of the project for the international career of the player.
"The board of directors of Santos Futebol Clube will manifest itself again in the case of any relevant topic emerging in this context and reaffirms its drive to count on Neymar's talent for many more matches, championships and finals."
Though let’s take the hypothetical route here; would Neymar be a good fit for Barcelona?
As of right now, he would not fit in at all. The path to the first team is full of obstacles, and their names are David Villa and Pedro. It is hard to see where Neymar would fit in with the current tactical set up. However, the rumour suggests the deal would take place in 2013, and this makes things more complicated.
But to address the Neymar of 2013, we must first take a look at the Neymar of today.
Heralded as the "New Pele", by none other than Pele himself (which is always a bad thing), it seems that Neymar has the world at his feet. A regular for the National Team, and the undoubted star of Santos, can this boy do any wrong?
Well, he has problems with his ego, and being the star at Santos, he is often immature, as this video attests.
Neymar sent off for wearing mask (via EllwoodsGamerTag)
However, while he appears to be petulant, and also has a problem with diving, there was another player that easily succumbs to the laws of gravity…
Cristiano Ronaldo is that man, and after overcoming his problems (or without doing it at all, depending on your viewpoint) Ronaldo has become one of the best players in the world, and displays an alarming consistency in beating the opposition. One can also point to the early days in Lionel Messi’s career, where he was slightly theatrical, and displayed hints of gamesmanship. Obviously La Pulga outgrew such histrionics.
Despite the comparisons with Pele, I think Neymar is a rare-type of player. His skills and dribbling ability are more comparable to Lionel Messi, while his less favourable traits are more akin to Cristiano Ronaldo. When we talk about Neymar, it is all hypothetical, but given the right surroundings, the right advice and right mentality, Neymar could become one of the greats.
The advice is there, with Pele talking to him about diving:
"Even when he is fouled, he can't make a spectacle out of it," he said. "I told him that he really needs to avoid that."
Source: USA Today
While some may label him arrogant, you must have self-belief to succeed, and he has displayed that:
When asked to compare himself to Messi, Neymar told Marca: ''I can be as big as him [Lionel Messi], or even better. I'm sure of it."
All he needs is a change of surroundings. Undoubtedly the star of the Brazilian league, he finds it all too easy at the moment, perhaps the reason for his childish shenanigans. The Camp Nou could be the last piece of the puzzle for Neymar, and admit it, you wouldn’t say no to this...
The Amazing NEYMAR (Santos x Flamengo) (via diegovcarvalho)
Recipe for a Great Player:
Take one Neymar, and give him a few years to learn his trade. Wait until mature, and serve at FC Barcelona, preferably with a side order of Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas.
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