Zidane, open to the idea of Neymar

The information offered by Manu Sainz a couple of days ago, that PSG would only be willing to sell Neymar for 400 million euros didn’t shock Zidane. He was asked about it in yesterday’s pre-match press conference ahead of this afternoon’s meeting with Eibar. He started by explaining that Neymar is a player who could easily fit into any team in the world. As for the Brazilian’s exorbitant market price, he explained that back in the day, the 72 million which Real Madrid paid for him seemed crazy, but the current record of 222 million is three times that and maybe in 10 years’ time –if not before, 400 million euro transfers won’t be out of the question. He was essentially giving his approval for an operation which Florentino has been plotting since the last Ballon d’Or gala.

PSG's aspirations hit the rocks

That night he refused to rule Neymar out as his next objective – and Neymar’s father’s ears immeditately pricked up at the mere idea of his son joining Real Madrid. Every time the player moves to a new club, a seemingly endless deluge of cash starts pouring out of the sky. PSG’s elimination from the Champions League to Real Madrid is also highly significant, because it has cooled his big dream of being the king pin in an exciting, new and purportedly successful project. PSG are starting to look like one of those old zippo lighters which, no matter how hard you try, never seems to ignite. You get the impression that authentic, true football is the domain of the old aristocracy among Europe’s old guard, against which PSG look like pretentious, nouveau riche wannabes. And such an environment is hardly going to boost his credentials to win the Ballon d’Oro...

Factors against Neymar moving to Madrid

Whether Madrid would be willing to splash out 400 million on one player is another thing entirely. For some time now their spending has been much more controlled, but you never know... Another reason why Madrid might have reservations about whipping out their chequebook is the promise to modernize the stadium, a whim which Florentino has repeatedly sworn to see through to fruition which will be costly. And then there is also the unease from a large part of the fans. It’s there to see in the recent poll we conducted and from what you hear out on the street. Neymar is a truly fabulous player, original and gifted and a marketing agency's dream. He’s the only player in the modern game who comes close to Cristiano and Messi, and he is younger than both of them. But he has a few personal quirks which let him down and a potentially explosive mix with Cristiano could be toxic. And that’s why some many people have their doubts about him.