Neymar Jr has become Florentino Perez’s obsession, with the Real Madrid president breaking out in rashes each time the Brazilian celebrates a goal in a Barcelona shirt. As SPORT have revealed, in recent months, Real Madrid’s president has called Neymar’s father frequently, trying to set up a meeting. However the meeting has not happened. And nor will it. Each time the response has been the same: No.
In his desperation to sign the Brazilian, the Madrid chief has invited Neymar’s father several times to his house, in El Viso, Madrid. There Florentino is trying to hatch a plot like that which took Luis Figo to the Santiago Bernabeu from the Camp Nou. The Portuguese winger started Madrid’s ‘galacticos mania’, and the president sees Neymar as the ideal pivot for a new sporting project, which will not feature Cristiano Ronaldo – or Rafa Benitez.
Neymar’s faithfulness to Barcelona is not in any doubt, since November 2011 when Barcelona agreed a deal with his father’s company for the first rights to Neymar after his contract ended at Santos in 2014. Thus, in the face of plenty of Real Madrid contact, Neymar’s father stayed in touch with Barcelona throughout.
Madrid threw the kitchen sink at his transfer, offering the player €70m more than Barcelona did, between his transfer and his salary, that would start with a “clean” (no incentives) €12m a year.
To see Neymar wearing the No 11 in Blaugrana is a personal failure for the Madrid president, which hurts him to his core, and in 2015 he is aiming to change that, commtiting the same errors that he did back when he was trying to get Neymar in the first place.
Florentino has never understood anything. Neymar is at FC Barcelona because it has been his dream since he was an infant, and he wants to emulate the path laid down by Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho. The success of those cracks has excited the imagination of Brazilian football. And Florentino and his chequebook cannot compete with that. The only way Neymar would go to the Bernabeu is if his world was only based around money.
The intangible qualities of Barcelona were what seduced Ney (as well as thousands of Brazilian children over the past 20 years), including when Barcelona beat Neymar’s Santos 4-0 in the Club World Cup final in 2011.
Florentino expects full-blown treason from Neymar, playing on the idea that these ‘galactico’ footballers have no morals. With Figo it worked, because his people wanted to collect their commission. With Neymar, it’s different. His people are more professional. More than 50 people a day work to manage his image.
Keeping Neymar at Camp Nou is fundamental in sporting terms. The Brazilian is part of the greatest attacking trident ever seen in the history of football, creating miracles with Messi and Suare, a key part of the “Barcelona of the five cups”, a Ballon d’Or finalist, gowing with each season, enjoying the atmosphere in the dressing room and a city that respects his private life.
Even in Brazil Neymar received many offers to change his airs and retained his faith. His obsession was to make his name as the best Santos footballer after Pele. And he did it. At Barcelona, being another one of the great Brazilians at the club is not enough. He wants to be the crack of cracks, and come as close as possible to achieving what his grand idol and footballing mirror Leo Messi is doing.