Neymar’s move to PSG won’t help him win Ballon d’Or

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 06: Neymar of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during of the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Camp Nou stadium on May 6, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 06: Neymar of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during of the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Camp Nou stadium on May 6, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

With Neymar’s move to PSG looking to be done this week, does Neymar’s chances of winning Ballon d’Or really improve with the transfer?

A couple of months ago, it would have been impossible to imagine Neymar leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain after Barcelona managed to pull off one of the most incredible –albeit controversial- comebacks in football history, coming back from losing 4-0 in the first leg to winning 6-1 in the second leg to knock PSG out of the competition in the round of sixteen.

That night, Neymar turned in one of the best performances of his career to help guide Barcelona to victory and into the knockout round – scoring a free kick and a penalty in the final minutes of the game. PSG might be one of the best clubs in the world but Barcelona is one of the best clubs in the world and it would seem crazy that any player who is a regular starter for them and a key player would want to leave in the prime of their career.

Barcelona is a club who can attract essentially any player that they so much wish, they are a club who are always going to one of the favourites for any competition that they are in along with being a club that will always have the best players in the world at the club – and they do have the best player in the world at their club in Lionel Messi.

Typically it is the likes of Barcelona and their rivals Real Madrid who are out targeting the very best players in the world to join their club and they only sell their best players if they themselves deem them to be surplus to requirements – very few players opt to leave these clubs by their own decision.

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And yet, here we are as Neymar is on the verge of leaving Barcelona by his own merit to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world transfer record of £220 million in the biggest news in a long time in football. It is a highly surprising situation, as usually in these transfers the player is typically just angling for a new contract – typically when Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi are looking for new ones, you will always hear the news about them looking for a move away from the club for one reason or another, but this is most certainly not the case with Neymar. He is leaving Barcelona and he will be leaving to join PSG which should be announced this week in the biggest transfer of all time.

Neymar fully believes that the only way he can win the Ballon D’or and be recognized as the best player in the world is if he leaves Messi’s shadow and is allowed to have a team who will be built entirely around him and getting the best out of him. There is some level of truth to this; Neymar’s best run of form at Barcelona was when Messi was out for an extended period of time and he was allowed to run the show.

The same at the 2014 World Cup, where Neymar carried a very woeful Brazil team to the semi-final and with his injury preventing him from playing against Germany, Brazil’s flaws were exposed without him.

If PSG were to build the team around Neymar, if they were to make him the main man of the team he would certainly shine and he would be a massive benefit to PSG to help them with their goals of winning the Champions League and becoming one of the biggest teams on the world on a level on par with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

But is Neymar moving to PSG really going to help improve his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or? It really doesn’t appear to be. Whether he plays on the same team as Messi or not, his issue is still going to be that his level of performances are still several levels behind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Neymar would have to be able to win the Champions League and the World Cup for him for him to have his best chance at winning the Ballon d’Or, which he certainly could do with Brazil but winning the Champions League with PSG will still be a colossal task.

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There are many strong teams in the Champions League and there takes a tremendous amount of good luck to win it but even then, history shows that even then accomplishments don’t seem to matter when it comes to winning the award if you’re not Messi or Ronaldo – as both Wesley Sneijder in 2010 and Franck Ribery in 2013 can both confirm for themselves.

It is going to be difficult for Neymar if he really is moving to PSG for his ambition of winning the Ballon d’Or. He’s playing in an era with the two greatest players of all time who don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon along with the fact that he isn’t even the clear-cut third best player in the world at the moment.

There certainly can be an argument for him, but there can also be arguments to be made or Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski and Antoine Griezmann aswell and with the ridiculous amount of money that is going to be spent on him, Neymar will need to step up his already incredible levels of performances up to another gear.

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Neymar could have stayed at Barcelona and attempted to have become the main man at the club, Messi’s position on the pitch has been consistently changing to adapt to the needs of the team and within time it seems likely that his role will be moved permanently into centre midfield which would have allowed Neymar a free role up top by himself.

Neymar certainly has the abilities to one day win the Ballon d’Or but his chances of winning it won’t change whether he plays at Barcelona or at PSG which is why this transfer is particularly baffling.