Neymar and PSG went to pick up pieces as the transfer saga ends
PARIS: Neymar The decision to join Paris Saint Germain In 2017 he was motivated by the desire to establish himself as the best player in the world, but a problematic moment in the French capital has left the Brazilian at risk of losing the best years of his career.
The closing of the transfer window has finally put an end to the long saga that surrounds the future of the most expensive player in the world, which will remain in PSG After not being able to return to Barcelona, I craved.
His former club could not complete a deal to rescue the 27-year-old from his apparent nightmare in Paris, with Neymar so determined to return that sports daily L'Equipe reported he offered to pay 20 million euros ($ 22 million) from his own pocket towards the fee.
PSG paid 222 million euros ($ 264 million at the time) for his services, while committing reported wages of 36 million euros a year.
However, he has not done enough at the Parc des Princes in two seasons damaged by injuries and interrupted by distractions outside the field.
In August 2017, the desperation of PSG's Qatari owners to win the Champions League appeared to fit with Neymar's own obsession with emerging from Lionel Messi's shadow and winning the Ballon d'Or.
I would love for us to meet in two years and see what his value will be compared to today. At least double, said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi at the time.
However, since moving to the Parc des Princes, Neymar has appeared in barely half of his club's matches.
When he has played, he has often been brilliant, scoring 51 goals in 58 games. He has won consecutive league titles and a Ligue 1 player award of the year.
But the Champions League is what really matters, and when it has really mattered in Europe, it has been absent. Injuries to the foot saw him lose three of the four qualifying matches of the Champions League that the club has played since his arrival.
Without him, they lost in the last 16 against Real Madrid in 2018 and then against Manchester United this year.
After suffering a broken foot for the first time in February 2018, Neymar missed the rest of PSG's season to be ready for the World Cup. Brazil went out in the quarter-finals.
In January this year, Neymar fractured the same foot, missing the crunch part of PSG 's season during three more months out.
Since then he lost the Copa América because of an ankle injury and was accused of raping a Brazilian woman at a hotel in Paris in May; The case was dismissed in August by a Brazilian judge.
Neymar has never learned French and has often appeared too busy with off-field distractions, including throwing lavish birthday parties and making a cameo appearance in his favorite Netflix series.
She remains one of the biggest sports celebrities on the planet, but she must quickly leave the last months behind and deliver it, otherwise there may not be anyone rich enough who is willing to risk buying it next year.
PSG supporters have made clear their unhappiness towards Neymar, yet those feelings can still change if he brings success on the pitch.
In the boardroom, there is also the realization of his commercial value - when Neymar arrived, Al-Khelaifi spoke of a project of two brands: we're associating the Neymar brand and the PSG brand.
They have since signed major sponsorship and endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, with Neymar 's presence alongside Kylian Mbappe playing a major role.
PSG are a young club who need a big media profile to help them develop. That is what Neymar has brought, just like Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) or (David) Beckham before him, French sports marketing specialist Jerome Neveu told AFP.
Ending the Neymar experiment might have allowed PSG to start afresh, although Mbappe and coach Thomas Tuchel had stated their wish that he stays.
I like Neymar, I want to keep playing with him, with Kylian and with everyone, said Tuchel recently.
Now all eyes will be on Neymar to see if he can put this episode to bed, although his three-game Champions League suspension means it may be some time yet before he makes any genuine impact.