Reflecting on Neymar leaving Barcelona

Normally I try not interject myself into any of these posts but it’s my blog and I felt that I needed to share my thoughts on one of the best players in the world leaving the team I support.

Usually, I find myself on the other side. It’s Barcelona who are buying another team’s best player. Hell, they tried taking PSG best player in Marco Verratti and wound up losing one of their own. It turned into a “life comes at you fast” sort of thing.

I understand Neymar leaving for more money. Based on the figures thrown around on how much he’ll be making, who wouldn’t leave one job for another willing to pay you that much? The thing that bothered me was the way it was handled. By both sides.

If Barcelona really wanted to keep him, they should have made it clear throughout the whole process that he was not for sale. Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, went from saying that it was 200% certain that Neymar would stay to saying that everyone knows that there is a chance Neymar could leave.

On the other side, if Neymar wanted to leave, he should have made that decision clear. Once the reality of him leaving started to become more and more of a possibility, the professional thing to do was to let that desire be known to the club. Either directly or through his father. All he did by remaining silent was turn this whole thing into a bigger circus than it already was.

While I previously wrote that he owed nothing to the fans, even I got a little irked and just wanted to know what he was going to do, one way or the other. The reaction to his departure by Barcelona fans definitely would’ve been different to what we saw as he was being introduced as a PSG player. Instead of being mad at the board or sad that he was gone, the feeling was more of relief like pulling off a band-aid.

Fans were glad that he was gone. All the questionable actions were brought out to the surface. Fans saying that they weren’t going to miss him missing games to attend his sister’s birthday parties or having to deal with his entourage, especially his father. Still, others were mad at Neymar considering the hoops the club jumped through to get him to Barcelona.

People want to talk about Neymar hurting his Barça legacy by leaving the way he did, but I think it’s the other way around. Barcelona hurt their own legacy by doing what they did to sign him.

The Neymar signing brought about certain irregularities that ended up getting former president, Sandro Rosell, charged with tax fraud and eventually being thrown into jail. Bartomeu even had to testify at the trial. In the end, it hurt Barcelona’s reputation. They were now seen as a club who tried to evade taxes and got caught. Their mantra “mes que un club” is seen with more of an eye-roll than before.

One thing that I will not do is question Neymar’s performance on the field. Days leading up to his transfer, there were many who were trying to diminish his success on the field. Neymar made up one-third of football’s best attacking trio. He scored goals, provided assists, and was able to take some of the pressure off Messi. No longer could other teams solely rely all their efforts on surrounding Messi because they also had to worry about Neymar.

It will be hard to replace Neymar but the club is going to have to. I’ve seen all the names and rumors making the rounds but I won’t believe any of them until the player is putting on the jersey at a press conference. All that being said, if I was running the club, my first choice would be Ousmane Dembele. But that’s just me.

I was sad to see Neymar go but I dismissed everything he said in his good-bye post on Instagram. It would have been nice had he done that earlier. It’s an empty gesture doing that now when you’re already off in Paris.

Hard to keep, or want, a player who doesn’t want to be at your club.

I wish Neymar all the best but hope that Barcelona draw PSG in the Champions League and absolutely thrash them.

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