Barca or Real? Assessing the beautiful dilemma facing PSG’s wantaway star Neymar
If the reports emanating from France prove to be correct, it looks like Brazilian playmaker Neymar may soon be heading for the exit door at Paris Saint Germain. But the big question is, where will he go?
Interestingly, both of La Liga’s giants appear to be interested, with rumors of bids being made by both clubs. But if we're to assume that both teams offer terms that are acceptable to PSG, which option would appeal most to the Brazilian, Real Madrid or his former club, Barcelona?Also on rt.com 'More advanced': Paris Saint-Germain sporting director admits talks on Neymar sale have stepped up
Zinedine Zidane’s Real are still looking to add pieces to their jigsaw and Neymar would undoubtedly fit the “Galactico” mold. But would the Real fans take to a former Barca man joining their ranks?
Ernesto Valverde’s Barca, meanwhile, are already stocked to the gills with world-class attacking talent and have added French World Cup-winning striker Antoine Griezmann to their squad ahead of the coming campaign. They would potentially see Neymar as the final flourish in an attacking lineup that would surely surpass anything else they would face this season.
But which club is the better fit for the Brazilian?
Barcelona would offer familiarity and family. No less a figure than Lionel Messi has gone public in Spanish paper Marca, urging the Brazilian not to sign for Real, and the prospect of a reunion with the Argentinian ace is certainly a mouth-watering one. But would the Brazilian, whose relationship with PSG teammates Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe was questioned during his time in France, be happy to share the spotlight and play second fiddle to the great Messi at the Camp Nou?
The situation over at Real would offer him a markedly different situation. Still looking for their talisman after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last year, Real may be able to offer Neymar a dream role in the heart of the side, with the team built around his mercurial attacking talents.
While he might be one part of an ensemble cast at Barca, Neymar would surely be treated as the main man in Madrid, and that may play to his ego perfectly. If Zidane can sell that idea to the Brazilian, and if the ownership at the Bernabeu can throw enough money at him, a switch to Los Blancos might just be the perfect fit for Neymar.
If he wants instant success, Barcelona seem more geared up. They finished a whopping 19 points ahead of Real last season, and the addition of Neymar would only further strengthen their hand against their perennial La Liga rivals. Their attacking riches would also give them a real shot at glory in the UEFA Champions League.
But if Neymar’s next move is about enjoyment and feeling wanted, Real might be the pick. Their 19-point deficit to Barca last season may also mean Madrid are more desperate to land the Brazilian, which could play into Neymar’s hands perfectly. A bigger contract, a more prominent role and a system built around him could offer a chance for him to elevate his stock to higher levels as a player who is compared to Messi, rather than one who simply plays alongside him.
If he wants to win immediately, expect him to join Barca. But if he wants to be loved as the main man, don't be surprised to see him don the all-white of Real.
Wherever he decides to go, he'll be joining one of the biggest clubs in the world, so expect plenty of headlines, and plenty of goals, as the Brazilian superstar enters the latest chapter of his always-colorful career.
By Simon Head