3 reasons why Neymar will never join Real Madrid

Although Madrid's mega-rich president has obviously not realised yet, money is not the only solution in football.

3 reasons why Neymar will never join Real Madrid
3 reasons why Neymar will never join Real Madrid

Although Madrid's mega-rich president has obviously not realised yet, money is not the only solution in football.

Neymar
Neymar

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The cult of Neymar at Barcelona is growing by the minute. The Brazilian is one of the most famous footballers in the world, and it is hard to play at a club as big as Barça without getting a fair amount of spotlight. But Neymar is clearly a different beast, and after more than decade and a half, there are talks about the Luis Figo saga resurfacing all over again, on a similar stage, albeit with a different set of actors.

Florentino Pérez, the Real Madrid president, is keen on making Neymar a Merengue, which could have been much easier had the Brazil captain been playing at another club. But Barça share an eternal rivalry with Real Madrid, and it is difficult to even entertain the thought of Neymar leaving the cosy confines of the Camp Nou for the vile atmospheres of the Santiago Bernabéu, if at all he moves.

If Figo was Pérez’s key to Real Madrid’s first Galáctico revolution, Neymar is the key to another incarnation of the 68-year-old’s dream. But unlike at the turn of the millennium when the Portuguese Figo crossed the Clásico divide, Barça are miles off Real Madrid as the planet’s best team at the moment. While Pérez’s pseudo-Galácticos have been struggling in the Blaugrana’s wake, as their recent haul of winnings show. Which provides Barça and their fans plenty of optimism regarding Neymar’s future at the club, and why the Brazilian won’t follow in Figo’s footsteps.

Here are three reasons why Neymar will not join Real Madrid:

1. The legacy of Ronaldinho and the successful Brazilians at Barca

It is little secret that Neymar idolises Ronaldinho, Barça’s greatest player of the early 21st century. The fact Ronaldinho has recently endorsed the 23-year-old as his heir in the Brazil national team is music to the Cules’ ears. 
Ronaldinho still carries an aura of world football’s greatest entertainer of the 21st century, and like many other subsequent generations, Neymar, too, holds the former Ballon d’Or winner in the highest of regards.
“Ronnie is one of the greats, a star. He is the best Brazilian player to have passed through Barcelona,” said Neymar as he landed back in Barcelona on Sunday. 

Such mutual admiration makes a case for Neymar’s strong ties with Barça, evident also from the club’s close contacts with the player years before he signed on the dotted lines. Aside from Ronaldinho, Barça’s legacy of successful Brazilians makes the Camp Nou far more comfortable for Neymar, as seen from Dani Alves remaining put at the club despite his contract running out last summer.

2. The urge to be even better

At Barcelona, Neymar is part of world football’s most feared and most successful triple acts of his generation. The trident of Leo Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, popularly known as the MSN, has smashed goalscoring records and left opposition defences writhing, while leading the club to a trophy-laden 2015 on the way.

They failed to win a record-equalling sixth trophy in a calendar after surrendering the Spanish Super Cup to Athletic Bilbao, but Neymar remains upbeat about going one better in 2016. “I hope we can do it again next year -- and even add one more, the sixth,” he added.
Neymar’s optimism stems from his desire and ambition to remain part of Barcelona for long, and to continue their joyride of silverware. Why would a want-away player indulge in title talk when he could sound out his suitors using the media interviews as tools?

Messi is the undoubted star at Barcelona, but Neymar’s dreams of following in Messi’s footsteps have a better chance of becoming a reality at Barca than at any other club. The way Neymar has integrated in the Barça way, the way he has gelled in a new Barcelona winning machine, the only way for him at the club is up. 

Going to Real Madrid at a crucial stage of his career is akin to footballing suicide, and Neymar certainly has better people behind him to avoid such mistakes.

3. Professionalism in the modern game

When Figo moved from Barça to Madrid in the summer of 2000, football was rarely the all-encompassing entity we see today. With professionals employed for even the most trivial of jobs, éerez could barely expect a cakewalk like he did when he made advances for Figo. Back then, the people behind Figo wanted their commission and hence the move was agreed, but things are more complicated with Neymar.

Pérez’s advances have more than once been rejected by Neymar’s father, who also happens to be his agent. The fact Barcelona and Neymar have been openly discussing the player’s contract renewal shows the trust between both parties, and Pérez squaring up against a difficult nut to crack comes as little surprise. More than 50 people work behind the scenes to manage Neymar’s image every day, another proof that things are not as easy as Pérez believes. 

Although Madrid's mega-rich president has obviously not realised yet, money is not the only solution in football.

By Abhijit Bharali, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter here