Welcome to NeyWatch, a series in which we catch up with the daily, often contradictory updates on the hottest story of the summer.
Barcelona’s best hopes for refocusing Neymar’s wandering eye back onto the club he’s currently at always laid with his Barça teammates tugging on the Brazilian’s heartstrings and convincing him not to leave them. (Well, that or the club cutting Neymar and Papa Neymar a couple fat checks, but that was never likely.)
This was in fact what his teammates attempted to do, and at one point it looked as if they had succeeded after Gerard Piqué’s “He stays” tweet. While all reports claimed that the love and respect the Brazilian’s Barça teammates showered him with did at the very least sow doubt in his mind about whether it was a good idea to ditch Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, ultimately their efforts failed. But don’t expect the players to redouble their efforts even now with Neymar on the precipice of departure, because multiple reports say Neymar’s teammates are fed up with his shit.
The Independent has some of the gossip from inside the club:
High-level Barcelona sources have told The Independent that there has been a distinctive shift in the mood at the club over the past few days, with those at the top now getting fed up with what is seen as little more than greed from the 25-year-old’s entourage.
As one figure close to the situation said, the question now is “what is his problem with Barca?”
While figures like Neymar’s prospective PSG teammate Dani Alves have made justifiable complaints about how they have been treated by the Camp Nou board in the past, there is still a feeling that they have generally bent over backwards for Neymar, and that this entire episode remains about finance rather than any actual sporting desire to go to Paris.
It has got to the point where some of the forward’s more senior teammates have become aggravated by the situation, and would currently see no great harm in him leaving, something that was very much not the case just two weeks.
The Independent isn’t the only one reporting something similar:
The Barça players’ frustrations do make sense. Many of them probably like Neymar as a guy, and they obviously understand that having a player of his caliber out on the pitch with them greatly increases their odds of success, which is presumably why so many of them prostrated themselves at Neymar’s feet in the first place. They also probably to some degree sympathize with Neymar’s desire to leave for PSG and become the central star of a great team’s solar system rather than continuing to serve as one of the many planets orbiting around Lionel Messi.
However, it’s understandable that with Neymar still never having made a public or even private declaration of his intention seven after veritable legends like Messi and Suárez and Piqué and Iniesta approached him face to face and urged him to stick around and despite every single report from around the globe belying his averred neutrality by reporting how his team has been hard at work negotiating his exit this whole time, his teammates would find all of this highly annoying. Neymar may be a great player, but he’s not the only one at Barça currently, and his peers must be frustrated seeing Neymar hold the entire club hostage for what to them looks like little more than an effort to go from extremely rich to a bit more extremely rich.
But fear not, Barcelona fans, for the club has already drawn up its list of potential replacements. The likes of Ousmane Dembélé, Kylian Mbappé, and, most seriously, Philippe Coutinho have been linked to Barça lately as options to fill Neymar’s shoes, but there’s one name in particular that could seamlessly slide into the side and succeed where Neymar has recently failed in winning the heart of Messi. That man is none other than Juventus’s Argentine stud, Dybala, who is, per the Independent, very close pals with Messi already.
Dybala has a close relationship with Lionel Messi, who he texts and plays computer games with regularly ...
A bond forged over a Playstation can never be broken.