We are outsiders and so we can only speculate. I’ve been asked a few times in recent weeks why I thought Neymar was leaving Barcelona for Paris and have come to different conclusions.
One question that kept coming to mind was why would a player who seemingly has everything want change? He is with one of the best clubs in the world, he has won many trophies with them, they pay him well, the fans love him, as do his teammates.
How could it get any better?
Well, I think that for the best of the best athletes it comes down to an uncontrollable need to constantly improve oneself, challenge oneself and to attempt to be the very best, and indeed, if possible the best player in the world.
Continuing to play with Leo Messi at Barcelona meant that Neymar in some ways had to put that kind of thinking on hold. No matter how well he played at Barcelona, the truth was that Barca was still Messi’s team.
My theory is that the only way for Neymar to satisfy his uncontrollable desire to become the best was to find a team that was on the one-hand already strong enough and yet needed a big star to lead the way to a higher level. He saw that in Paris Saint Germain and they saw that in him. If my theory is true then the Neymar-PSG combination looks like a very good fit and is all about the fit – and not the money – as many people are saying.
And so I believe Neymar when he says:
“I am here to help the team to win as many titles as possible. I have come to take on a new challenge and to win titles.” (ESPN)
The move is risky for Neymar. He may fail to reach a new level at Paris.
Meanwhile he has given up a clear path at one of the biggest clubs in the world to be the successor to one of the best players ever, in Leo Messi.
Time will tell.
One thing seems true here: Neymar wants his own team and he wants to be the best player in the world so much that he is willing to take this risk and go on this new adventure toward greatness.
Let’s see how both he and PSG do.