“It’s a dream come true to be able to play for Barça. I thank God for making this possible”. Neymar’s endless flirting with the two big Spanish clubs-Barcelona and Real Madrid-has now finally come to an end, with the talented Brazilian hooking up with the Catalonians. Neymar decided to announce the deal online, saying: “I am not going to wait until Monday. My family and friends know my decision. On Monday I will sign for Barcelona.”
The deal, worth around €60million, £51million, is a very complex one. His economic rights were held by three groups: the DIS Investment group with 40%, TEISA with 4% and his former club Santos, with 55%. Reports suggest that Barcelona are paying Santos and those partners around €28million, with €30million going to the player and €9million to agents’ fees. A 5 year contract has been signed, worth €7million a season!
With Neymar describing it as the “happiest day of [his] life”, everything seems fine and dandy. However, will the move even work for Neymar’s career? Will the move work for Barcelona?
Why the move will work for Neymar:
- Neymar has an impressive record on the international stage. In 30 appearances, he has scored 20 goals, an impressive goal ratio at international level
- Neymar also averages over a goal every other game, playing for Santos on the left side of a front three. Neymar will be judged on scoring goals for Barcelona
- The fact that he has played on the left of a front three means that he will be adept at playing on the left of Barcelona’s attack. It is vital for Barcelona that Neymar adapts quickly to Spanish football and his role
- His big image in Brazil will bring more fame to Barcelona’s image, making the club and Neymar even richer. It will also tap into the potential of the emerging economic power that is Brazil
- Barcelona beat Real Madrid to Neymar’s signature, providing huge bragging rights and ego-boosting material. It has also increased the pressure on Florentino Pérez, the Real Madrid president
- Neymar will be surrounded by world class players. If he can form a partnership with Messi, Barcelona will be even more deadly. Feeding off Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets’ passes will be no bad thing either. “It’s an honour to be able to play with Messi, Xavi and Iniesta” Neymar said
Why the move will not work for Neymar:
- Neymar often seems to look scared in big games, making his performance levels dip to way below average. It will be interesting to see how he deals with El Clásico and UEFA Champions League ties
- Barcelona fans did not want to sign another offensive player. A centre-back is what is needed at Barcelona, with the Barça back-line looking shakier and shakier every season. This may see Neymar become a hated signing, causing him to experience more pressure
- Neymar has a ‘party boy’ attitude. While he was the main man at Santos, going out clubbing every night was accepted as long as his performances were okay. This will not be the case at Barcelona, and Tito Vilanova will not want the party attitude to influence his other players. Ronaldinho and Deco were sold by Pep Guardiola for their attitude, and Neymar must be very careful
- Neymar is just 21, meaning that he may struggle to adapt to Spanish culture and life. He has rarely been away from Brazil and if he is not happy in Spain his performances will be poor
- As well as adapting culturally, Neymar will need to adapt to the style of Spanish football. He will struggle: Brazilian football is very slow, with attackers being given a lot of respect and most teams not even possessing defensive coaches. Spanish football has a much quicker tempo to it and passing is favoured over direct dribbling; Neymar’s main asset. When Neymar has played against international teams for Brazil, such as Russia, he has been non-existent
- Neymar will not suit Barcelona’s footballing philosophy. While Real Madrid let individuals shine, Barcelona’s emphasis is very much on the team. Neymar has often proved a very greedy individual, which will anger Vilanova. He also, while having a great first touch, is not a very good passer of the ball- he will really need to improve this aspect of his game.
- Neymar only has 40 assists in 134 games for Santos; he is very much a goal scorer. Messi is Barcelona’s main goal scorer, with Vilanova probably having to play Neymar wide left. (More on Messi later.) In this position, Neymar will be expected to contribute a lot of assists. He will also need to track back a lot, something that he does not do currently
- Neymar will not be the main star. If Neymar fails, he will be moved on quickly, without hesitation. With talented replacements on the bench-Alexis Sánchez, David Villa, Gerard Deulofeu and Pedro-the pressure will be intense. Neymar seems to struggle with pressure
So will the deal work?
It is 8-6 to “Why the move will not work for Neymar”, and it really could have been more. Neymar will struggle to adapt to the quicker, tougher Spanish league which contains bigger pressures. He also could become a scapegoat for Barcelona losses, after his signing was made before a much needed centre back was acquired. Vilanova clearly has doubts, saying: “We have to see how he adapts to European football but we’re confident.”
Is Neymar a replacement for a certain Argentine?
Johan Cruyff, whose philosophies are the backbone of the current Barcelona set-up, made a very interesting comment: “Messi and Neymar? Two captains on one boat do not work.” This backs up point 7 for the move not working. Neymar is used to being the main attraction; he will not be at Barcelona. The comment could be looked at even deeper though, does Cruyff know more? Is Messi leaving the metaphorical boat? Surely, surely Messi would not go to Bayern, linking up with his ex-coach Pep Guardiola? Now that would be exciting!
See my opinions on Neymar in greater detail:http://wp.me/p3mpIg-E While old it is hopefully still gold!