Bye Bye Barcelona – Neymar to PSG in Record Transfer

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Image from Sky Sports.

*UPDATE* La Liga has blocked payment from Neymar’s lawyers of his 220 million buyout clause, and have reported PSG to UEFA for violations of FIFA’s financial fair play (FFP) rules. La Liga has also accused PSG of “financial doping” and improper spending by its owners, the Gulf state of Qatar. 

*NEW UPDATE* Barcelona has agreed to pay 222 million to terminate Neymar’s contract

In a shocking move, Brazilian superstar Neymar has left Barcelona in a record smashing transfer rumored to be around €500 million including wages, buyout clause (around €220 million), and transfer fee. After much speculation and rumors linking Neymar to French giant PSG, the official transfer was announced, sending shock-waves throughout the football world.

Following one of the greatest seasons of his young career at Barcelona as a member of the deadly attacking trio “MSN” (Messi, Suarez, Neymar), including sparking one of the greatest comebacks in any sport against PSG in the Champions League (sorry American football fans, but scoring 6 goals is a lot harder than coming back from 28-3), Neymar has decided to leave Barcelona for the former.

The move has caught everybody by surprise, but none more than Barcelona, who now are left without an answer at left wing, and are facing rumors and displeasure from supporters that their famed “La Masia” academy is drying up with talent and that the club is moving away from its roots as “More than a club” a center for Catalan culture.

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Promotional posters being replaced with images of Neymar cropped out. Image from Goal.com

After weeks of silence from Neymar amid rumors of the move, and pleads from teammates to remain with the club, the Lebron like transfer has created a lot of distaste from both players and fans alike. While I’m not sure Europeans are into the burning jersey craze, there are probably plenty of Barca supporters who want to do just that. The club was quick to replace posters with identical ones with the image of the Brazilian winger removed. While some are angry, Messi was quick to respond with a classy and heartfelt message on Instagram  following news of the move.

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Image from Tribuna.com

According to sources, Neymar wished to leave Barcelona in order to have a team of his own on which he would be the focal point. He wished to be a leader, on and off the field, and to have control of his own brand and career during which he wishes to become a Ballon d’Or winner, something that was deemed impossible playing alongside Leo Messi, possibly the greatest player to ever grace a football pitch (don’t @ me).

First off, I believe that Neymar is naive and stupid for leaving Barcelona. The club is one of the greatest, most valuable, and most treasured in the world, and he has been playing alongside the world’s greatest player while shining in his own right, leading the club to outstanding achievement. Despite a disappointing 2016 in regard to final achievement by the club, Barcelona won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Ray, and the UEFA Champions League titles in 2015, and have all the talent and brand power to do the same again. Together “MSN” have combined for 365 goals over three seasons with the Brazilian star contributing 105, but it seems Neymar wishes to have a more central attacking role away from the shadow of Messi, which contributed to his desire to leave (Kyrie Irving totally gets you right now Neymar).

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Secondly, those close to Neymar claim the deal is not about money, but when your yearly salary rises from €9 million to €40 million, money is clearly involved in the process. Now its easy to knock professional athletes for chasing money from our seats as average joes at home, but I personally do not believe his brand and image at Barcelona could be surpassed by playing anywhere else, even Paris, so I believe he should have put ego and money aside and continued his career at Barca where eventually he could become the face of the club’s future upon Messi’s eventual decline.

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Potential starting XI for PSG.

Neymar cited winning the Ballon d’Or as a personal goal of his upon arriving at PSG, where he will link with Brazilian teammates Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, and Dani Alves, but I do not believe playing in France will provide him any better of an opportunity to achieve such personal success. I view the French league as one of the weakest of the major European leagues in comparison to England, Germany, Spain, and Italy, and while Neymar is a world class talent, I do not foresee PSG making further advances into the Champions League. If you don’t believe me, FIFA league coefficients has Ligue 1 ranked fifth behind the Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, and even the declining Serie A in Italy. Club coefficients has PSG ranked 7th behind four La Liga clubs. The next ranked Ligue 1 club is Monaco at number 21, but with the transfer of young talent Mbappe seemingly inevitable, that may change.

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League rankings from the 16/17 Champions League.

With that being said, winning the most respected award in world football will be a tall task, competing against the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, and others who are even higher class talents playing in better leagues against statistically some of the world’s top teams. With Monaco’s Mbappe wanting out and the transfer of Lyon’s Alex Lacazette to Arsenal, Ligue 1 has only become weaker in my opinion, so I do not support the move. Time will tell if this record transfer pans out, there is no doubt Neymar has the talent, but I am not convinced he’ll want to call PSG home forever.

While the deal has yet to be officially approved, PSG believes that the deal should have no problem going through. So what does the record setting transfer mean for world football?

The transfer, while currently rejected, has set a new standard for paying players. As Manchester United gaffer Jose Mourinho pointed out, while it is not an expensive fee for a player of Neymar’s ability, it will inflate the prices teams will pay for other players, who he believes are not worth the higher amount of money they will now receive. The same affect can be seen in the NBA, where players like Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova received more money than they should have due to much higher contracts being awarded to superstars across the board, thus inflating the market for average to below average players. The lasting effects of this deal, if eventually approved, could be groundbreaking.

 

Readers, good or bad move? You can leave your thoughts and comments below.

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