The stories that suggest Manchester United are about to make a world record bid for Neymar tend to be accompanied by an important justification for the Brazilian actually wanting to make the move - that he feels he can never be the number one at Barcelona while he plays alongside Leo Messi.
Newsflash: it’s already happening. Neymar is already well on his way to be the world’s number one. He doesn’t need to leave Barca to manage it. If he doesn’t win the 2017 Ballon d’Or, then he’ll win the 2018 one – Brazil are the first team to qualify for the World Cup in Russia and they will be favourites to win it. If they do he’ll almost certainly scoop the individual gong too.
His goal in midweek against Paraguay – running from deep inside his own half past four players – was up there with Messi’s finest, and remember it was Neymar who worked the Paris Saint-Germain miracle with the ball for Sergio Roberto’s injury-time goal and the free-kick and penalty before it. Messi, meanwhile, was having by his standards an ineffectual game.
Neymar has 99 goals in 175 games for Barcelona and if his numbers have dropped off slightly this season it’s because without the departed Xavi and Dani Alves, and the frequently injured Andres Iniesta, he has become provider supreme with an assists tally of 19 – the best in Europe.
It’s unlikely he will ever top Messi’s overall achievements. The staggering consistency of the Argentinian, who has scored 40 times or more in the last eight seasons, will not be topped and neither will the Ballon d’Or haul, currently standing at five.
Neymar’s career may well be shorter too – he was out partying until the early hours with Lewis Hamilton after his epic display against PSG, and after he tripped the light fantastic against Paraguay this week he did the same post-match with actress girlfriend Bruna Marquezine. For the last three years he has missed the fixture closest to his sister Rafaella’s birthday, conveniently freeing him up to attend her celebrations.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Why Neymar-to-United rumours are built on a false premise