Over 50,000 fans turned out to welcome new Brazilian signing Neymar to Barcelona yesterday at the Nou Camp.
However one lingering thought kept cropping up. Is Neymar really worth $74.5 million?
The fact that a player is deemed worthy of a transfer fee anywhere near that sum is quite remarkable, but it’s the world we live in folks, we just have to deal with it.
But despite the hype that has been emanating from Brazil about Neymar, for what seems like an eternity now, I have never been overly impressed with what I’ve seen.
Yes, plenty of you are going to disagree with this one. But whenever I have watched him play, it doesn’t seem as if he’s ready to help spearhead one of world soccer’s best clubs.
There you go. I’ve said it.
When it comes down to it, I worry about his physical strength in Europe, especially playing in the Champions League. His quickness, skill and pace are all there but when he comes up against the stronger English, German and Italian sides in European action, Neymar will find it tough going.
Having observed him against England in Brazil’s 2-2 friendly tie on Sunday, Neymar showed the odd flash of brilliance at the Maracana. But nothing that had me being able to justify why Barcelona would want to fork out almost $75 million on him. He struggled to get in behind England’s defense and couldn’t out pace Glen Johnson. His final ball was poor and he had one really good chance that Joe Hart saved well. One game doesn’t make a player, but on several occasions I’ve seen him fail to stamp his authority on a game. Not the way Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do, anyway.
His highlight reel goals from Santos are tremendous, he has a special talent. But will he ever be in the same class as Messi and Ronaldo? Only time will tell, I guess. But playing in Brazil definitely favors a player who can run at defenses with pace and a few tricks, as the standard of defending in the Brazilian leagues is much lower than most European leagues, in my opinion.
Recently Gareth Bale’s agent claimed the Welshman was worth more than Neymar, I have to agree. But what is a transfer fee anyway? This particular fee is inflated due to the hype surrounding Neymar since he turned 17 and made his debut for Santos. He has scored 20 goals in 33 games for Brazil and is a superstar. He has been dubbed the “new Pele” and every top club in Europe has been chasing him. Hence the inflated fee.
So don’t get me wrong, I appreciate his talent. I just think the fee Barca paid for him was way over the odds. But to these mega-rich clubs, what does a transfer fee even mean anymore?