Does Neymar really deserve to be the most expensive footballer ever?

Suraj Kumar Thube
Suraj Kumar ThubeAug 03, 2017 | 21:02

Does Neymar really deserve to be the most expensive footballer ever?

"That was my best performance for Barcelona," a jubilant Neymar had confessed in an interview after a historic match that saw his team do the unthinkable by overturning a 4-0 first-leg deficit with a thumping 6-1 victory at Nou camp.

The Brazilian forward was at his flawless best in what has been touted as the best Champions League comeback ever in the history of the game.


Today (August 3), he is back in news with similar excitement as he is all set to join the French powerhouse, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) - the same team which Barca defeated in that epic game.

Reports suggest that PSG is willing to activate his buyout clause of 222 million euros and is only days away from securing his services, which would rope him in for the club for six years. This will be an unprecedented event as it will smash the previous transfer record of 105.2 million euros that saw Paul Pogba returning from Juventus to his old club, Manchester United, last year.

This development becomes all the more important to highlight why Neymar is the hottest property in the transfer market and how it has intensified the debates on corruption, rivalry and ambitions in the larger world of football.

Neymar, after coming to Barcelona, has certainly proved himself to be one of the best in the business. By scoring 105 goals along with 80 assists in just 186 games, his record speaks for himself.

This development becomes all the more important to highlight why Neymar is the hottest property in the transfer market and how it has intensified the debates on corruption, rivalry and ambitions.


Along with (Luis) Suarez and (Lionel) Messi, he formed the famed trident of MSN, arguably the best front attack the game has seen in recent times.

Even though these numbers are the least among the trident, he did manage to forge a lethal partnership upfront by causing absolute havoc in the minds of the opposition.

Unlocking defences with remarkable ease at tense situations is something he mastered over a period of time. An audacious dink with his weaker left foot to find Sergi Roberto, who slotted it home in the dying seconds of that epic game against PSG, is a classic example of that. He has been accused of a lack of consistency in his performances.

At the same time, his terrorising speed and impeccable ball control did send shivers down the spine of the opponents every time he took the centre stage. An Opta statistic of how he being fouled 431 times remains the highest across the top five leagues of Europe is a testament to his lightning-quick feet and creative instincts.

At 25, he finds himself on a learning curve where he can only get better.

The transfer saga though has not been as smooth and unblemished as his precocious talent. Even before the present UEFA financial fair play controversy kicked in, Neymar's initial induction in the Barcelona team was also mired with fraud and corruption charges against the Barcelona management. The previous president, Sandro Rosell, who had to step down, and the current president Josep Maria Bartomeu are far from being cleared of the charges of under-pricing Neymar's value at 57 million euros when they signed him from Santos in 2013.


The ongoing legal dispute claims that the figure is actually in the range of 83 million euros. Along with this, the Brazilian investment company DIS had also accused Barcelona FC of not paying them their dues in its entirety.

The company held 40 per cent of the players right and even today maintains a stand of being cheated in the process. This time though, it is PSG who hopes to lure him to Paris by activating his release clause.

The problem with agreeing to pay this enormous sum of amount is in collision with UEFA's fair play rules and regulations. Quite simply, clubs can be sanctioned by UEFA for making a loss of more than 30 million euros over a span of three years. La Liga president Javier Tebas and the president of Barcelona FC continue to reiterate their stand in the face of a supposed breach of rules and regulations.

On the other hand, they are also insisting on paying the full amount at once, thereby trying to make life difficult for PSG from both sides.

At the same time, it keeps dreaming big. After its takeover by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment under the chairmanship of Nasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi, it has seen a massive boom in its popularity and currently has the sixth-highest revenue in the world of football.

Notwithstanding the fact how the present deal possibly sees an active role of the Qatari state pumping in the desired money, Khelaifi at PSG looks unfazed.

The Paris giants have always made their desires public when it comes to their Champions League ambitions. By not managing to move beyond the quarter finals of the competition, it surely remains their primary goal, especially given the fact that their domestic league record in the past five years has been extraordinarily dominant.

They are willing to splash the cash again this time, with Neymar possibly getting a pay cheque of 550,000 euros a week. This would take him in the same league as Messi, who recently signed a contract extension with Barca with a similar week pay.

In this entire episode resplendent with issues of fame, money and corruption scandals, the one assumption of why Neymar wants to leave looks all the more probable. Even being great friends with Messi, it is impossible to move out of his shadows and carve a niche for himself. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving to Manchester United last year, the absence of a star value quotient is now for Neymar to fill at PSG. With Messi (30) and Cristiano Ronaldo (32) being well beyond their prime, Neymar finally seems to have decided to throw the gauntlet and assert his arrival in an unparalleled sense.

His flight into oblivion will be an exciting and nervous time for football fans.

Last updated: August 03, 2017 | 21:02
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