Did Neymar leave FC Barcelona because he was always playing second fiddle to Messi?

Published: August 5, 2017

What if playing second fiddle to Messi had gotten on his nerves as he aspired to become ‘numero uno’ at a club where he would be the star attraction? PHOTO: TWITTER

On Friday morning, Neymar completed his transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris St Germain (PSG) for a whopping €222 million. It has by far shattered previous records for being the most expensive transfer in history – more than twice the fee Manchester United paid Juventus last summer to lure Paul Pogba to Old Trafford.

The question that comes to mind after this fiasco is done and dusted with is: Was it worth it?

The level of scrutiny that will be aimed at Neymar over the course of his first year in Paris is bound to be incessant. On the field, every touch that he makes will be watched. Even when off the field, every decision he makes, the places he hangs out at and the people he socialises with will be scrutinised with insurmountable magnanimity.

Barcelona’s Neymar Jr gestures during the Spanish league football match between the FC Barcelona and the RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou stadium. Photo: Getty

Nasser Al Khelaifi, the owner of PSG, is a man of his word. He doesn’t mince and mingle much with the media. His ultimate goal, which may not be too obvious for everyone, is helping PSG win the elusive UEFA Champions League.

The Qatari billionaire has now placed his faith in the hands and skills of Neymar, who once used to be a prodigy, but is now a connoisseur who embodies the way PSG hopes to play in the forthcoming season.

In addition to this, the Qatari backed owners want to stamp their authority on the European stage of football as well. Having secured hosting rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, these Qatari owners want to showcase that Qatar is exponentially growing in the administration sector of football activities.

Moreover, what better a way to play out your strongest card than by securing the services of a 25-year-old player who has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in dominating the football world?

Photo: Getty

One question that keeps ringing in the minds of pundits is what stirred Neymar’s thoughts of leaving Camp Nou in the first place. He had already been on record for saying that he idolised Messi and thus chose to leave his boyhood club Santos for FC Barcelona in June 2013.

Had money played a significant role in his decision to leave Camp Nou for the Parc des Princes? What if playing second fiddle to Messi had gotten on his nerves as he aspired to become ‘numero uno’ at a club where he would be the star attraction? He had been cascaded by the everlasting shadow of Messi and didn’t feel the same affection from Barcelona loyalists as Messi received.

Photo: Getty

Furthermore, Neymar might have desired to project his brand name on a broader scale, for which he needed to meander his way out of Spain and into the plains of France.

No matter what his reasons are for choosing to join PSG, one objective is crystal clear. Neymar won’t be judged by the number of Ligue 1 titles he wins or the number of Coupe de France titles he lifts – his ultimate goal is to take PSG and their Champions League craving Qatari owners to the ‘Promised Land,’ aka an elusive UEFA Champions League title.

I might not be mistaken in judging the fact that the responsibility of leading a top European club, day in and day out, now falls squarely on the shoulders of Neymar. How he handles the situation, carries his team when the chips are down and lifts a gloomy ambience of frustrated Parisians is what will end up defining his legacy.

For now, all we can say to the Brazilian maestro is, bon voyage!

Osama Bin Haroon

Osama Bin Haroon

The writer is a recent graduate from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology. A sports enthusiast to the core, he likes to express his opinion on events as they unfold in front of him. He tweets @osamabinharoon (twitter.com/osamabinharoon)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • alan lough

    neymar made a mistake if he left to get out the way of messi.messi plays for the team and it is crystal clear tha he has no interest in who scores as long as barca win.how many penalties and free kicks did messi give to suarez and neymar last season?neymar scored the goals that staged the greatest ever comeback in ucl history against psg and messi was delighted,as long as they win is all messi cares about.as far as i can see,neymar just didnt want to be on the same team as messi as he wants to shine on his own.but no matter where else he plays,he will never get the level of football he had at barca with the greatest player on earth.but,he has done what he has done and the irony is that if he plays to the level he is capable of,he will take over messi as the best player on earth and no one will stop him from winning the ballon dor every year until he retires.we shall see….Recommend

  • Asif Butt

    “I might not be mistaken in judging the fact that the responsibility of leading a top European club, day in and day out, now falls squarely on the shoulders of Neymar. ”

    No Mr. Author of this article , you CAN be mistaken in judging this.
    You are obviously just an enthusiast more rather than old enough to have played and seen enough football in your life.

    Express tribune , you should avoid letting inexperienced enthusiasts write such articles regardless of considering them as mere blogs.

    And as far as this scenario regarding Neymar , PSG and UEFA champions league is concerned ,
    Every club that has a lot of money wants to improve , ahve better players and after dominating their national league want to win the UEFA title as well.
    Stop putting un-necessary spot light on PSG because of the Qatari Sheikhs and on Neymar because of his decision to leave Barcelona.

    The author is probably a Barcelona fan or Messi fan .
    Barcelona fans need to wake up. All good things come to an end.
    I will not waste any words in describing why Neymar did what he did.
    Players like Messi & Neymar dont need people to understand how they live their professional playing lives.
    They will always be admired and respected based on the superior natural talent which they enjoy.Recommend

  • Asif Butt

    Finally some sane comments.
    But this article is poorly written atleast in contrast to its title/headline.Recommend