Neymar’s failed return to Barcelona examined as PSG woes worsen despite title triumph

Neymar: Pundits on whether PSG move was the right decision

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Neymar’s rocky relationship with PSG has continued, despite the French giants winning the Ligue 1 title on Saturday night. The former Barcelona star was booed by fans and then responded by insisting he’ll be at the Parc des Princes for another three years. So, with that being the case, it’s time to look back at his failed return to the Nou Camp in 2019.

Neymar was booed by PSG ultras on Saturday night.

They’ve grown frustrated with the Brazil international, especially after their recent Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

And Neymar then decided to stoke the flames after PSG drew 1-1 with Lens to win the Ligue 1 title, saying: “I still have a contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

“I’m here for three more years, so stop [booing] or you’ll need more air.”

Neymar, on his day, is one of the best players in world football. That’s not up for debate.

But, nearly five years on from his arrival, the Samba star is yet to become the remarkable signing many thought he would be.

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So that begs the question: Should Neymar have left PSG when he had the chance?

Back in 2019, Barcelona were keen to re-sign the Brazilian as they sought a route to Champions League glory.

And Neymar, for his part, was willing to come after deciding that life in Paris hadn’t been all it was cracked up to be.

He told those in his inner circle that he was ready to move back to Catalonia and be reunited with close friends Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

PSG then began to look at replacements for the former Santos star, despite publicly insisting Neymar wasn’t for sale.

But as the finances of such a big deal became evident, Barcelona started to get cold feet.

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They’d already splurged big on Antoine Griezmann, recruiting the France international from Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

And Barcelona had also spent lavishly on transfer deals for Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho previously.

Barcelona explored the prospect of using Dembele in a swap deal for Neymar but PSG, right from the off, made it clear they wouldn’t entertain such an idea.

And, in the end, nothing materialised.

Barcelona simply lacked the financial muscle to re-sign Neymar, despite the Brazilian’s eagerness to return.

And it’s clear in the time since that that ship sailing has failed to work out for both Neymar and his former club.

Barcelona are on an upwards trajectory under Xavi but, still, lack a superstar capable of propelling them to the biggest titles in the game.

And Neymar is no longer the talisman of PSG, with Messi and Kylian Mbappe both ahead of him in that regard.

All parties should have come to an agreement while they could.

But Neymar now looks destined to stay at PSG, for three more years at least, which is something fans of the Ligue 1 giants will have to accept.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, recently defended Neymar from the criticism he’s been receiving.

“Yes, in the last few games, he’s been making great progress and getting better and better,” Pochettino said.

“I am very happy with his work and his commitment. He is very involved. He’s incredibly talented. He has done a very good job.

“It was not an easy season for him to manage, between the Copa America which deprived him of preparation, and then his injury.

“He tries to give his best and he proved it with his performance tonight.”

Neymar is expected to feature when PSG face off against Strasbourg in their Ligue 1 clash on Friday (8pm).

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