What started out as a classic international break rumor in order to sell newspapers, is now increasingly becoming more serious as reliable sources are speaking out and adding little pieces to this intricate and worrisome puzzle. A puzzle, which by no means should ever be completed, and here are three reasons why:
1. He CHOSE to leave
The moment Neymar arrived at the club there were instantly rumors linking him away. First there were the Florentino Perez rumors about him being unwilling or unable to accept his defeat in the transfer saga after Neymar had already passed the medical with Real Madrid right before signing with FC Barcelona.
Then came the reoccurring PSG theme…summer after summer. So much so that his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, revealed back in 2016 a face-to-face meeting in Ibiza had taken place with Nasser Al-Khelaifi. According to Ribeiro, the sheik was ready to pay the (then) €190m buyout clause, offer him a €40m a year salary, a private jet to fly him back and forth to Brazil and finally hand him a hotel chain which would be named after him. It didn’t happen that summer.
But fast-forward to one year later and we all know what happened. Despite the repeated attempts of the Barça BoD to keep both Ney Jr. (and perhaps more importantly) Ney Pai happy with salary increases and god knows what other “bonuses”, the endless and shameless flirting of the Parisian club finally secured the inevitable move. The Neys were off to the city of love.
2. Have SOME self-respect
If this current board has any appreciation for what Barça stands for they can’t seriously be considering this move. After having been backstabbed and embarrassed by the Brazilian father-son duo and the sheik, how could Barto & co even be entertaining the idea of bringing them back?
According to Roger Saperas, a local journalist for Barcelona radio station Rac 1 (which unlike Mundo Deportivo, is a highly credible source), perplexingly the Barça President asked the locker-room heavyweights their opinion on a possible return of the Brazilian star. Reportedly, their response was a positive one. In other words, the players would like to see Neymar make a return to their squad. All this despite after having claimed he needed to leave in order to break away from Messi’s shadow. Well guess what, Messi is still here and judging from how Neymar’s career is progressing he will never be able to break free from the shadow cast over him by the Argentinian GOAT.
But let’s entertain the thought that even if hypothetically Neymar is willing to accept that he’ll never become bigger than Leo and come back to play under his wing, how can Barto accept taking back a player who so openly and recurrently ridiculed him by calling him a “joke” and saying that “those people shouldn’t be directors of Barça”? Surely Josep Bartomeu has some sense of self-worth?
3. La Masia? More like La MENOSia
Finally, if Neymar were to come back to FC Barcelona, what would this say about the sporting direction this club is continuing to move towards?
Let’s look at Barça’s lower categories. In a time where it is evident that there’s next to no communication between the sporting directors and the technical staff regarding the players that come and go and where Valverde has shown he’s not a manager who promotes from within the club, this would be another disastrous blow for La Masia. For the sheer reason that it portraits the message that no matter how much and hard those young talented kids work, the first team ever only looks to bring in big names without giving any opportunity to homegrown youngsters.
This move would additionally have a huge impact on new arrivals the likes of Dembele, Malcom, and perhaps even Coutinho (who fits better up top then in the mid where Arthur is shining). They would immediately see their participation and future threatened by the arrival of Ney for the simple reason that there’s no way he’d come here to start on the bench (Luis Enrique will be able to tell you that).
So regardless how good of a player he is and how well he gets on with the likes of Messi, Suarez, Pique, Rakitc, etc, Neymar coming back would be a devastating move no matter which angle you look at it or how you want to spin it. It’s been an amusing hypothetical thought to tickle, but can we now go back to being serious?