Neymar may have taken a transfer to make him the most expensive player of all time, but a move to Ligue Un is a step back in his pursuit of glory

Neymar to Paris Saint Germain has already been named the transfer of the century. $263 million euros was his release clause, up to $40 million a year for his salary. Mental. The player, in his prime, is both young and experienced, has already won a lot and can win even more. The Brazilian is the type of player who can deliver matches on his own and raises the level of the team, both on and off the pitch. It is completely understandable for Paris Saint Germain. But is it the right move for Neymar?

Barcelona didn’t have a choice: the player asked to leave the club – even against the wishes of his father – paying the buyout clause and traveling to Paris. The Blaugrana lose a huge part of the team, although this could be a reason to turn back to La Masia homegrown talent and stop spending so recklessly in the transfer window.

PSG only know the means of money to build teams. Nothing wrong with this, so it makes sense to go all in on a footballer who is still very young but already world-class. With Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria alongside Neymar, few attacks in the world will be better. The coveted Champions League title is a step closer.

As for Neymar himself, it is very difficult to tell whether or not the decision was correct. Only time will tell, is what people say in these cases. He will earn more money and live in a top European capital city, Paris, one of the few places in Europe that can be considered superior to Barcelona. And the forward will enter the world of a 21st century club, emerged from petrol money and trying to establish itself in the elite of European football.

Neymar will wear the number 10 shirt – handed over by Javier Pastores – and become the undoubted leader of the club, surpassing Cavani and Thiago Silva, and leaving behind the internal dualisms with Lionel Messi or Luis Suarez at Barcelona. It’s a great challenge for Neymar: if he succeeds it will be largely thanks to himself, and not due to the influence of La Pulga. There will be no MSN in Paris, just Neymar + 10. His ego will be fed like never before, and if he delivers, it will be a special feeling.

But as Gary Lineker said: “You can only go backwards from Barcelona”. Only a club such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Juventus considering prestige and current form can be considered on the same level. PSG are definitely a step back.

Maybe Neymar’s time at Barcelona was over. His decision after all. But Barcelona is Barcelona. It said goodbye to Carles Puyol, Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Xavi – just to mention a few – and in the space of a decade, from 2006 to 2016, it won four Champions League titles, including two Trebles. One of them courtesy of Neymar’s talent. But Barcelona have won before, and will win after him.

A club that did everything legally (and illegally?) possible to sign him, trusting his talent from the very beginning and holding his hand in the final step into stardom. A team built around his talent and his combination with Messi and Suarez. Neymar has left all of this. For the money, for the new challenge, for the media attention, for his ego. But leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain is a step back. 

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