It seems like Neymar’s days at PSG could be over with rumors swirling of a possible return to Barcelona this summer.
Thing Haven’t Quite Worked Out
When Neymar left Barcelona to go to PSG, he claimed that it was to get out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and become the world’s best player. That plan has not worked out to say the least with Neymar’s time at PSG marred by one incident after another. While it might not be fair to blame him for PSG’s ineptitude, with as much money as they pay him and with all of the attention he brings with his on and off the field antics, it was always going to play out this way.
This latest incident with a fan after the loss in the Coupe de France final may be the last straw:
Here's Neymar seeming to punch a fan after losing the French cup final with PSG tonight. pic.twitter.com/hDekQuW2nI
— UFF – ⚽️Ultimate Football Fan🗣️📹 (@ULTFootballFan) April 28, 2019
While it isn’t clear what the fan said, you simply can’t punch someone in the stands. Everyone came out and condemned him for this incident including one of his closest friends and Brazilian teammate Dani Alves. His actions have not gone unnoticed in Brazil either as it was announced two days ago that Neymar will not be the captain of the national team for the upcoming Copa America which Brazil is hosting. It’s just another black mark on a terribly disappointing year.
Neymar Has Brought most of This on Himself
There are a few things that you can’t blame Neymar for during his time at PSG. The reality however is that most of his problems since joining the club are of his own doing. When he made the move from La Liga BBVA to Ligue 1 in France, many wondered why one of the world’s most talented players would choose to move to what is seen as a 2nd tier league in Europe. The obvious answer is money no matter what Neymar will have you believe. The part about wanting out of Messi’s shadow is probably true because as long as Messi is healthy and in form, Neymar could never be number at Barcelona. The thing is, Neymar already has a style that provokes opponents even at the highest level. His skill on the ball sees him receive some nasty fouls and he doesn’t help the situation with how much showboating he does. From the moment he joined the French first division, you could see that he level was far beneath his ability and so out came the party tricks. Some of the skills he has produced on the field in a PSG shirt have been breathtaking. They have also caused him to get hurt as his opponents tackle him with extra aggression, not wanting to be on his next highlight reel.
An example of Neymar’s trickery that he uses to embarrass opponents in France:
While his skills are video game like and impress fans, they also don’t do much in terms of winning. The risk then seems to outweigh the reward since Neymar’s injuries have caused him to miss the stretch run of both of his seasons in Paris. They bought him to win the Champions League and he wasn’t even there for the round of 16 match against Manchester United which they lost in dramatic fashion. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Neymar did this after the match:
BREAKING: Neymar has been banned for the first three games of next season’s Champions League pic.twitter.com/LyT1vjNK8W
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 26, 2019
They brought him to win the Champions League and now he’s banned for half of next year’s group stages. At this point the PSG owners and fans for that matter are starting to wonder if the investment they made in Neymar is actually worth it at this point.
Will He Go Back to Barcelona?
Rumors seem to be suggesting that there could be a straight swap deal for Ousmane Dembele. This would make sense for both clubs on a few levels. First for PSG, they can get out of the Neymar contract and in return get a young French star to play in Paris who happens to be 5 years younger and much cheaper. While Dembele isn’t on Neymar’s level, he just might be better suited to play with Mbappe and also hasn’t seemed to settle in Barcelona.
Meanwhile for Neymar, it would be a return to familiar surroundings. While his time at Barcelona wasn’t perfect, he certainly helped make them the best team in the world when he combined so brilliantly with Messi and Suarez to win both the League and Champions League in 2015. He seemed to fit in perfectly as a compliment to Messi’s skill. He was a younger player then and maybe he realized that he had no choice but to fall in line. With the two years away from that situation may have made him realize that he was actually where he was supposed to be all along and no amount of money can change that.