The Real Madrid squad have their eyes set on the Champions League final with Liverpool, but they have also sent several winks in Neymar's direction. The USA vs. Ecuador live and direct: Friendly FIFA Date
The Real Madrid squad are focussed on the upcoming Champions League final against Liverpool on 26th May, but you can forgive them for showing an interest in Madrid’s pursuit of Neymar.
Zidane: Ronaldo and Neymar could work
Los Blancos are already in contact with the PSG forward, and are prepared for a long and costly operation. Neymar wants to leave France, and the fact that his father has met with renowned deal-broker Pini Zahavi gives Real Madrid hope that he is an attainable target.
If Neymar were to arrive in the Spanish capital, he would be welcomed with open arms by Zinedine Zidane’s squad. They became used to viewing Neymar as the enemy during his time at Barcelona, but have sent several winks in his direction since the possibility of a move to the Bernabéu arose.
Zidane himself delivered a subtle message on Friday, in the news conference before Madrid’s LaLiga clash with Celta Vigo. “There is always chemistry between the best players,” Zidane said when asked whether Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar would be compatible. The coach clarified that he has not asked for Madrid to sign Neymar, but nor did he deny that there was interest.
Sergio Ramos leads welcome party
Several players have been more explicit than Zidane regarding the signing of Neymar. Sergio Ramos was among the first. “I’d open the door to Neymar,” he said in December 2017, and five other members of the squad have adopted a similar tone.
“Neymar will play at Real Madrid one day,” Marcelo, his team-mate with Brazil, suggested in February.
One month later, on 15th March, three Madrid players repeated the message again. Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, and Raphael Varane spoke to different people, but all reiterated that at Madrid, “the doors are open for Neymar”. Achraf said something similar on Friday.
Neymar an obsession for Florentino
Yet the flirtations from the dressing room are minor compared to those from Florentino Pérez. The Real Madrid president is eager to secure an historic signing of the same calibre as Luis Figo in 2000, Zinedine Zidane in 2001, and Ronaldo in 2002. In addition to sending various people to Brazil to test the water and make tentative contact with Neymar’s inner circle, Florentino fluttered his eyelashes in Neymar’s direction at the Ballon d’Or ceremony at the end of 2017.
Neymar has become Florentino’s obsession. There are, however, various obstacles to the deal being completed. The economic stumbling block is the most significant. PSG signed Neymar for a world-record fee of €222m last summer and would not be willing to let him leave for less than €300m. And Madrid would have to add a handsome wage packet to that figure.
The second stumbling block is PSG’s owner, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The Qatari is not keen on the idea of selling the flagship player in his Champions League project. PSG tread a fine line with Financial Fair Play regulations, which may work in Madrid’s favour. Yet the Neymar situation is a matter of pride for al-Thani and the Qatari state, and both will do whatever possible to prevent Neymar passing through that open door in to the Madrid dressing room.