Neymar: PSG and Madrid have opened talks - sources confirm
PSG and Real Madrid have opened a direct line of communication about Neymar, with the Parisian club open to the possibility of a loan deal, sources close to negotiations have confirmed.
Two months after the relationship between the Brazilian star and PSG broke down definitively, the French club decided to make contact with Real Madrid to evaluate the viability of Neymar’s move to the Spanish capital.
The first step was taken a few days ago, when PSG called the Bernabéu offices to demonstrate their desire and flexibility to negotiate. And, surprised by the sudden opportunity to secure one of the best players in the world, and for a more affordable price than what was previously thought, Madrid decided to open talks with PSG’s representatives.
There has still been no concrete offer made, but sources close to negotiations have said that PSG is willing to discuss alternative options with Madrid rather than yield to pressure from Barça to lower his price.
There is even talk that the striker could arrive in Madrid on a one-year loan deal – and that would seem like a good arrangement for all parties. It would allow PSG to give the player one more year to increase his value and sell him at a higher price in 2020. For Madrid it would be a less risky investment in a player that offers unparalleled potential. And for Neymar it would be the opportunity to return to Spain.
This option, of course, would not be on the table for Barcelona. According to PSG sources, Barça has never come into direct contact with the French club, with all communications having been undertaken through an intermediary.
PSG's grudge with Barcelona
In Paris there is a feeling that Barcelona has conspired with Neymar’s camp to create the crisis that exists today, something that the Catalan club believed would end up facilitating his exit for a price lower than the 222 million euros that PSG paid for him just two years ago.
This has left the already-bad relationship between PSG and Barça as broken as the one now found between PSG’s directors and Neymar’s camp itself. The feeling is that the issue has already escalated from being a sporting one to something personal. Leonardo has made it clear to those around him that Neymar will not play for PSG again and that he will only go to Barcelona for the same 222 million euros that the French club paid in 2017.
On Thursday, Brazil’s GloboEsporte reported that the player’s camp met with Madrid representatives to discuss the possibility of his move to the Bernabéu, while their talks with Barcelona have scaled back. The Camp Nou board were counting on the striker taking a stance and declaring his desire to wear the Blaugrana shirt again, but that has not come to pass.
Neymar never closed the door on Real Madrid
Throughout his career, Neymar has never made a single statement against Real Madrid because he has always been aware of the amiable relationship that his father and his representative Wagner Ribeiro have with Florentino Pérez and Madrid’s recruitment director Juni Calafat.
In April of last year, Neymar's father met at least three times with a Real Madrid director in Rio de Janeiro. But the striker had only been in Paris for a few months and they both agreed that it would be almost impossible for the club’s Qatari owners to let him go at that time. The plan was to wait until after the World Cup and the 2018-19 season before trying to engineer his exit.
Then, the crisis broke out in Paris two months ago. Neymar showed up for the Copa América and told several of his Brazil team mates about his desire to leave PSG for either “Barcelona or Madrid.” He has always left the Bernabéu door open, as has Florentino Peréz. In fact, Peréz met with Ribeiro a few months ago at the offices of his construction firm ACS and told Neymar's representative that the club would always be open to discussing the Brazilian star’s move to Madrid.
Another important factor is the good relationship the Madrid president has with PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi. They have always respected each other – so much so that after speculation emerged linking Madrid with Mbappé and Neymar, Peréz did not hesitate on releasing an official communiqué to deny the claims. This is in stark contrast to the conflict-laden relationship between Barcelona and PSG – tension that has played into the favour of Real Madrid, whose door is now the most open one for Neymar.