Competition
  • Final ATP World Tour
Final ATP World Tour
stefanos_tsitsipas Stefanos Tsitsipas Stefanos Tsitsipas
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alexander_zverev Alexander Zverev Alexander Zverev
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Real Madrid's Neymar pursuit is purely Pérez posturing

Barcelona’s victory over Betis was an outpouring of joy. It’s possible to surmise that had Leo Messi (and Luis Suárez) been out on the turf, Barça would have gone about their business in a different way. In the absence of Messi obligatory reference point - and let me clear that I am not objecting in any way to that status – Barcelona’s attack against Betis was a collective party, with the end result of five goals to Betis’ two. Without their two main men in the forward line, Barça put on an excellent display in which newcomers, relative or real, excelled: Rafinha, Carles Pérez and Ansu Fati.

After watching the game, as did Messi and Suárez in the front row seats at Camp Nou, I asked myself why Barcelona need Neymar. Already at Camp Nou, for anyone who needs a reminder, are Messi, Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann, backed up by the likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Pérez, Rafinha and Ansu… those five goals made Barça’s chances of finding an exit to the labyrinth even more difficult, with the pressure from within being applied by Messi’s desire to have his old partner back by his side. But with both Messi and Suárez in the stands and the second-string hitting their stride, it is hard to find a reasonable argument for Barça to make great ones of their own to follow the light of a wandering star.

Is Neymar worth the trouble for Madrid? 

And as for Madrid? Florentino Pérez is rowing against the tide. The signing of Neymar would lend him personal prestige and give the impression that Real Madrid had pulled a fast one on their old foes Barça. But once the initial euphoria dissipates, what then? The Bernabéu would have a player who receives an astronomical salary, who is encumbered by his caprice and whose brilliance is now so blurred that you have to look back two years in time to clearly remember a truly stunning performance. At the end of the day, it seems to me that every utterance about trying to sign him - or deciding not to – is nothing more than posturing.