Is it really over between Neymar and Santos? Depends who you ask. While the player never comes out saying anything and the club’s president keeps insisting that he won’t be sold until after the 2014 World Cup, others suggest the Brazilian star might not be staying in Sao Paulo for very long.
The Brazil – South Africa friendly in Sao Paulo was a rather embarrassing display from the Brazilian side, winning 1-0 in a dull affair, with Neymar doing absolutely nothing for 89 minutes on the left wing, before being substituted to the ringing boos and jeers of the local fans, many of them probably Santos fans.
There isn’t much love for Neymar and the national side these days in local terms as well. Santos are going through some sort of rebuilding period and doing quite badly in the league, placed at 14th, partly due to the fact that Neymar missed quite a few games by heading over to the Olympic games and Ganso refusing to play anymore for the club until he’s sold to a European club, finding himself pushed out of the team.
Inside sources say that Neymar is unhappy. Ganso is a close friend and his somewhat of departure has hurt the star’s mood and form, although he has scored 5 goals in 7 matches in the Brasilerao so far. The lack of success (anything but gold, finishing with silver) in London despite playing rather well for the entire tournament hasn’t made Neymar any more popular with the fans in Brazil, while his diving and injury feigning have gotten worse in recent times. Some say that there’s not much left for him to play for, especially when he doesn’t feel any love from the national team’s fans.
Still, it’s not simple moving Neymar to Europe. He’s making pretty much the same kind of money he will be making for any of the big clubs in Europe, thanks to the sponsorship deals and endorsements. Actually paying the full price for the player, which is hard to see being anything less than €50 million, while most of the money will be going to a third-side party makes it financially sound to actually keep him with Santos, which won’t be making that much money off of his departure before the end of his contract.
Players care less these days for their national teams. It’s a fact. Club football has become the more important stage and also as a shopping window, and there’s just no denying it. All around the world, you can see teams with plenty of stars struggling to produce quality matches because of egos and a lack of ambition to succeed for the national side. Fans care more about their clubs than they do about the national sides as well, but they still hate seeing a player do well for money when he should be doing well for the flag.
Neymar usually plays well for Brazil, but probably feels more pressure and criticism than anyone else when things don’t go so well, especially when he can’t get on a plane back to Europe and escape the poison darts aimed at him. Maybe that’s enough of a motivator to push for Santos to sell him, and start proving to the world he’s a lot more than just another hyped up Brazilian player. In order to prove it these days, you need to show it on the best stage of all – The Champions League, not any kind of International competition, including the World Cup.