Welcome to NeyWatch, a series in which we catch up with the daily, often contradictory updates on the hottest story of the summer.
The one thing that has kept Barcelona fans from openly sobbing in the streets during this whole Neymar fiasco, as they both despair over the prospect of losing such an iconic, generation-defining player like Neymar while also simmering in rage because of how said player is basically cuckolding the beloved club right before the eyes of the world, has been this confident, anxiety-reducing tweet by Gerard Piqué from the weekend:
At the height of the confusion and hurt swirling around Neymar’s possible departure to Paris Saint-Germain, Piqué came in with a simple photo and two little words, “He stays,” and with that the anger and terror of losing Neymar dissipated almost immediately. Even in the following days when Neymar never formally affirmed Piqué’s message, which caused the nervousness levels to inch back upward a few ticks, Barça fans could look back at that tweet and reassure themselves. If Piqué said that Neymar told him he was staying, which is what everyone took the tweet to mean, then, dammit, Neymar was probably going to stay. Apparently, that’s not what Piqué meant at all.
Piqué met with the press last night and of course was asked about the tweet. Rather than confirm fans’ and the media’s interpretation on his message, that Neymar did indeed promise Piqué that he would snub the money and the individual importance and the boatload of Brazilian buddies PSG are offering, Piqué instead informed everyone that he had been misunderstood. From the BBC:
“From the conversations that I had with [Neymar], it’s just my intuition that he’ll stay - other than that obviously I hope that he stays,” said Pique.
“We were in a relaxed atmosphere with other team-mates when we took that photo, and that’s how that went. But in no way was that anything official.
“Firstly it’s really not my business, and the person who has to decide that is Neymar.”
Thus the singular statement in the Neymar affair that most allayed Barça fans’ worst fears, the one thing that lovers of the blue and red could go back to in times of doubt and remind themselves not to worry too much, has turned out to be a lie. Yes, Piqué and the rest of the gang are trying their best to convince Neymar to stay, and other reports have made the case that their efforts might be working, but they’ve still not gotten any assurances from Neymar one way or the other.
Oh, and also, reports today say Neymar has talked to PSG manager Unai Emery about his plans for the team, has signed off on the contractual terms the club is offering him, and that once he gives his final nod that he wants to join, PSG have already found a way to trigger his release clause without infringing on the Financial Fair Play regulations. Just so Barça fans don’t get this confused, too: This means you should be very worried.