Next for Neymar: Barca or Real?

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Only two years after leaving Barcelona to Paris San Germaine for a record €222 deal, Neymar is looking to come back to Barcelona FC.  It has been reported that “Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez and also President Josep Maria Bartomeu want him back”.  Neymar himself has been rumoured to take a 40% pay cut in order to secure his return.   Will all that be enough to bring the Brazlilian soccer phenomenon back to Camp Nou?

Written by: Ziv Chen

According to Spanish soccer expert Guillem Balague in an interview given to BBC Radio 5 Live: “The player is happy to reduce his wages from 38 million euros net to 23 million euros net,” said Balague.  He also added: “It is an interesting situation at Barcelona. They feel they have to try really hard to get him back.”

Amid media frenzy about the 27 year-old Brazilian international planning his return to the Spanish La Liga, and his representatives in discussions with both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Although Barca may seems like more of a natural home to go back to, there is also an option from the other La Liga monster Real Madrid.  As this next move will be crucial for his career, Neymar must look at his options carefully, here are our thoughts.

Why Real Madrid?

Challenge: Neymar had it easy in P.S.G.  His stats in the French league, with all respect and credit to his amazing talent and skill, show the ease in which the capital’s millionaire’s soccer club dealt with all the intermediate French rivals.  Regarding the European cups it is hard to judge, given his recent injuries prevented him from helping his team avoid the two failures in the Champions League in his time.

Assuming Neymar is hungry and back in shape nowadays, Real is exactly the right place for him: a soccer club with a lot of history and legacy, that is now trying to take off again after a terrible season.  Moreover, Madrid now has only one world-class striker (Edin Hazard), but one that won’t go into ego clashes.  If Neymar becomes a pivotal part of Real Madrid’s return to glory, all criticism on his recent failures will be forgotten.

Surprise: Everybody is expecting Neymar to land in Barcelona, and looking at Real’s attempts to sign him as a distraction from his glory-ridden return to Camp Nou.  This is the Brazilian’s chance to do something completely unexpected and go with a club that has been trying to sign him for years.  It will prove soccer fans worldwide that he isn’t looking for the most comfortable club, the one that he knows well, but that he is rather looking to play world-class football at the highest level.

Prestige: Neymar left Barcelona to detach himself from Leo Messi and try to win the FIFA Golden Ball Award.  It is hard to believe he abandoned his goals and doesn’t dream to become the World’s top player.  His initial thoughts were correct – as long as Messi is nearby, it is hard to Imagine Neymar superseding him and pulling the votes.

But Real is the perfect place for Neymar to become the leading star and position himself as an opposing figure to the Argentinian.  This will emphasize a possible advantage for Neymar in the case of Real Madrid rolling along and showing its force again against Barca.

Why Barcelona?

Closure: Although it’s pretty certain that the fans will forgive Neymar if he returns, there’s still a bitter sentiment about his undue departure from Barcelona.  The feeling was that he is leaving a club that was a true home for him, in order to pursue his own, personal goals – both financial and professional.

Re-signing in Barcelona will be like Neymar extending a hand for peace to everyone related to the club.  It will be a sort of return to his roots and renewed acceptance of his place as part of a constellation of soccer stars, as opposed to him being the one that must have all the limelight.

Continuity: Messi’s place can’t really be filled, but it is important to remember that one of the reasons behind Neymar’s previous signing to Barcelona was to groom him as the successor, the future leader of FC Barcelona.  Since the Brazilian left, around the time of other departures of key players from the Barca squad such as Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, there has been a big void in the club’s leadership and winner mentality.  The new acquisitions are yet to live up to the high standards.

If Neymar returns, he can pick up where he left, and within three-four years of hard work become a dominant force in the club when Messi grows older.  This chance to become the next FC Barcelona symbol-turned-legend is a serious temptation for Neymar.

Insanity: Imagine the NBA all-star, combined with the Harlem Globetrotters, led by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.  Can you imagine such a team? Well switch to soccer and this is how Barcelona’s attacking front will look like, if Neymar joins Messi, Suarez and Griezemann.  Being part of this thing can be an amazing opportunity.

After a difficult year – both personally off the pitch and professionally – whilst seeing Brazil win the Copa América, becoming part of this foursome will be exactly what can bring back Neymar’s smile and joy of soccer.  Even in the age of 27, Neymar is still a kid in many aspects, and will probably be happy to enjoy playing soccer like a kid again, on the world’s greatest pitch.