In this clash of the big spenders, the limelight will be focused on one player: Neymar. The bombastic Brazilian was the subject of intense transfer speculation this summer from both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Although Real’s Catalan rivals were the frontrunners to sign the mercurial forward, a deal never transpired and the fallout from the failure of both parries failing to come to terms might mean that Neymar’s hopes of a ‘prodigal son’ reuniting with Messi and Suarez are permanently damaged.
Although Real’s Catalan rivals were the frontrunners to sign the mercurial forward, a deal never transpired and the fallout from the failure of both parries failing to come to terms might mean that Neymar’s hopes of a ‘prodigal son’ reuniting with Messi and Suarez are permanently damaged.
This fixture then might function as Neymar’s elaborate audition for his second-choice club, Real Madrid. Paris Saint Germain’s fans are less than happy with his behaviour in explicitly and repeatedly expressing his desire to leave the club, so much so in fact that they jeered him for the full 90 minutes in their recent meeting with Strasbourg – that it is, until he won the game in injury time with an astounding overhead kick. Neymar’s talent is almost limitless; no matter how poor his attitude might be, he is a truly miraculous footballer and the prospect of him in a white Real Madrid jersey at some point in the future is a fascinating one. For that reason alone, this PSG-Real Madrid encounter is one to keep a very close eye on.
Perhaps the determining factor in Neymar’s decision regarding a move to Madrid will be how well Los Blancos perform this season. It’s no secret that their 2018/19 campaign was cataclysmically bad – they finished in 3rd place and were humiliated by Ajax in the Champions League. This crash was perhaps inevitable given the departure of Ronaldo and the fact that they were never likely to be able to win the Champions League for four consecutive years. Nevertheless, Florentino Perez reacted decisively, re-appointing Zinedine Zidane and making over £400-million worth of signings. Bizarrely however, most of these signings are currently playing something of a backseat role in Madrid’s early-season exploits. They have won two and drawn two so far, but upon the return of the newest galactico, Eden Hazard, they will be hoping for an upturn in fortunes.
As for PSG, their start to the season has been poor by their standards, even though they do still occupy the top spot in France. However, Ligue 1 is almost an irrelevance for then this season as it has been in the past few – their sole aim has to be European glory. Towards this end, they have made some relatively sensible signings; this is pretty unusual for a team that tends to spend hundreds of millions on superstar forwards but skimps out in midfield and defence. Idrissa Gueye joined from Everton while Ander Herrera left Manchester in favour of Paris, also.
In terms of how this game will transpire, expect goals. Both look uncertain in defence but blistering in attack. Hopefully, the scoreline will reflect the frankly absurd talent both teams have in their ranks.