Many say that Neymar had everything he needed to be the best in the world, but that he strayed from that path.
His lifestyle, competing with Lionel Messi and his injuries all hampered Neymar from being the best player on the planet.
On Wednesday the Brazilian will return to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as one of Paris Saint-Germain’s biggest threats, but he easily could have been in a Real Madrid shirt if things had gone differently.
Speaking in an interview with Ronaldo Nazario, Neymar spoke about how he did everything he could to return to Barcelona in the summer of 2019, but it wasn’t to be. He had a similar situation with Real Madrid, but that now feels like a distant memory for the 30-year-old.
Neymar’s story is well known. The then-Santos player even got to share a dressing room with Dani Carvajal and Pablo Sarabia and was all set to sign for Los Blancos as a 13-year-old, but the deal would have brought FIFA sanctions. That led the Santos president to offer the 13-year-old Neymar a salary of 10,000 euros a month.
The second attempt from Real Madrid to sign him wasn’t successful either. The player passed a medical and was ready to sign a contract with Los Blancos (which was deposited in a safe in Sao Paulo and in another in Madrid), which was never valid. Real Madrid didn’t accept the last demands of Neymar’s entourage, and he ended up signing for Barcelona.
The third, which Neymar doesn’t seem to want to remember, was in the summer of 2019. The forward wanted to leave PSG at all costs and Real Madrid was his first option. He spoke with up to four players from the Real Madrid squad – Sergio Ramos, Casemiro, Luka Modric and one other – and also some others working at the club and some directors, but the deal never materialised.
The return to what could have been his new home
On Wednesday he will return to the Bernabeu, and despite not being the player he once was he’ll play a big role alongside Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.
Neymar is looking to recapture the form he’s lost due to injuries, but he should still be watched very carefully.
PSG have improved in recent weeks, and Mauricio Pochettino’s team are obsessed with winning the Champions League.
They want to prove a point in the possible new home of their star man Kylian Mbappe, who will be welcomed in Madrid as a hero, even though he will be doing all he can to eliminate Real Madrid on Wednesday.