A lot football fans, unschooled in the ways of the world and in the fickleness of footballers’ loyalty to football clubs, thought Neymar Junior was going to pledge his loyalty anew to Barcelona the last time he visited the club. What played out that fateful Wednesday turned out, as it is now generally known, to be his final farewell to team mates and club officials. The Brazilian forwards has since signed for Paris Saint Germain for a record fee of £198m, putting an abrupt end to the growing speculation then he could show a last-minute change of heart.
There are many lessons to learn from Neymar’s recent departure from Barcelona to PSG.
A lot people are usually astounded when they see the fanatical love and attention people shower on the game of football. Shorn of all the glamour and guaranteed upsurge of adrenaline that comes with watching the game: the football industry in the totality of its expression, most times, mirrors the diverse shades of human nature.
Neymar’s recent move to PSG brought to light a consistent way most human beings and institutions behave under certain circumstances.
The Hypocrisy of Barcelona in the Neymar’s Transfer
When it dawned on Barcelona that Neymar was resolute in his decision to leave the club, the management of club started raving and ranting about how the deal would amount to a flagrant breach of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rule and they even threatened to report PSG to UEFA. Their reaction sounded very strange in that Barcelona, based on their past history, cannot afford to climb onto such a moral high ground when it comes to the issue of breaking rules guiding players’ transfer.
This was the club that aided and abetted in the illicit deal that brought Neymar from Santos to their club in 2013. Then the President of Barcelona Sandro Rosell , it must be remembered, was forced to resigned due to the illegalities surrounding Neymar’s signing ; and the club and the disgraced former president were charged by the Spanish government for tax fraud due to their deliberate failure to disclosure the true amount they paid for Neymar .
It is well known that most football clubs cut corners when it comes to players’ purchase, while this common knowledge does not excuse the crime, but Barcelona lack the moral justification to cry foul play over an illegality that have committed in the past and may likely commit in future due to the near-criminal desperation most clubs exhibit when they are after a player’s signature.
Footballers are all Mercenaries
If there is a club that knows how to unsettle a player when they need his signature – that club is Barcelona. They do this skillfully using their own players and media outfits sympathetic to their cause . It is not uncommon for Barcelona players to be egging a player on to join their club during international breaks; most times they grant interviews describing such a player as a perfect fit for their club. Ironically, Neymar who had not hidden his desire for a certain Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool to join him at Barcelona is the very player who has ditched the Catalan club for PSG. Barcelona, we must remember, hold a lot of allurements for many players, but no sooner PSG offered more money to Neymar than he switched allegiance and moved to the club where he would be handsomely renumerated . The lesson here is simple – there is nothing like club loyalty amongst players. Footballers give their services to the highest bidder.
Internal Rivalry within Barcelona
In the early days when Neymar’s proposed move to PSG was making the rounds, this writer penned an article itemizing the reasons Neymar would want to leave Barcelona. Three of the reasons were – the new contract that was recently awarded to Messi, the club’s undisguised adoration of their Argentine football and the covert desire of Neymar to escape from the shadow of Lionel Messi. Since Barcelona rose to football dominance in the last decade , a lot of whispers have been steadily coming out from the club relating to how other players are made subservient to the Argentine striker. Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke of how he was systematically driven out of the club so that Messi could be the cynosure in the Catalan club. In such atmosphere where there is a standing policy of favouritism towards some player : there is bound to be bitter rivalry amongst the other players. Neymar’s transfer shows that something is not right in the Catalan club, and the true reasons Neymar left the club will no doubt come out in a few years time when the Brazilian striker writes his biography, as most players do these days.
Now that Barcelona have received the huge sum of money from Neymar’s sale, they have intensified the campaign to get a replacement for the Brazilian. So many players have been mentioned as his likely replacements, with Liverpool’s Coutinho appearing to be the one topping the list. Whichever way their pursuit of Coutinho turns out, it is a win-win situation for the Merseyside club in that the Brazilian has no release clause in his contract and the club has stated on several occasions that their pint-size mid-fielder is not for sale. Should Coutinho be pressured him agitating for a move, Liverpool should set the selling price at exactly £198m. If the Coutinho is Neymar’s replacement he should be worth the same amount Neymar was sold – a Daniel comes to judgment? As it stands at the moment, Liverpool hold the four aces.
There is a kind of perverse satisfaction amongst Barcelona’s rivals that the Catalan club has been served a fell dose of the medicine that have consistently administered to other clubs over the years. That claim is evidently an emotional way of assessing the Neymar’s issue ; in fact when it comes the issue of how football clubs deal with players, no club can be adjudge a saint. It is, however, pertinent to wait and see how Barcelona adjust to the loss of one of their most creative players in recent times.