There’s life after Neymar

Two men put up a new poster outside the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on August 2, 2017. The previous poster featured Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar. Neymar could be presented as a Paris Saint-Germain player as early as this weekend for a world record fee as Barcelona admitted defeat in convincing the Brazilian to stay at the Camp Nou on August 2. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Nine years ago, I had a huge feeling of sadness. On July 16 2008, Ronaldinho left Barcelona for AC Milan. At 10 years of age, this was very hard to take. One of my favourite players, a player that lit up the Camp Nou from my first trips to the great stadium, was leaving my favourite club. It was always coming, but I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t see past Ronaldinho, for me there was no future after him. We had Leo Messi, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, but, as an irrational 10-year-old, it was the end of Barcelona.

The departure of Neymar may feel like the end of Barcelona for a lot of people, but I urge you to stop thinking like 10-year-old me. There is a massive future for this club after Neymar, if managed correctly.

Selling Neymar has obviously given the club a huge boost in transfer funds, but there is a lot more to take into consideration.

From day one, Luis Enrique was forced to play in the same way, with a focal point to the ‘trident’. This was what everyone within the club wanted. This was the way to make money. ‘MSN’ was a huge money making scheme, the marketability of three of the world’s best players, all in one team, was astronomical, and it was unthinkable to drop or substitute one of them even if they were having a poor game. Ernesto Valverde now has the freedom to try new things, and not be expected to have the same three players on the top of the team sheet every week, he can play Gerard Deulofeu on the wing one week and Denis Suárez the next, and not have to endure a media storm when this happens.

With Neymar gone, Luis Suárez ageing and a gap in the midfield, players looking to join FCB can now see an opening. When Barça were linked with the Paulo Dybala’s and Ousmane Dembélé’s, the same problem always popped up: “Where will they play?” and “how can we afford them?”. Now players looking to join the club can actually see themselves within the side, instead of being shunned by the daunting task of dethroning ‘MSN’ and the ‘Gala XI’.

We are now looking at a Barça squad that, with some youngsters returning from loan, is looking fresh. There is still work to be done, the sale of players like Arda Turan, Thomas Vermaelen (yes he’s still alive), and Douglas is imperative. With the arrival/return of Marlon Santos, Sergi Samper, Deulofeu and Nélson Semedo, the signs are positive. It remains to be seen what kind of role the youngsters will play under Valverde, with Carles Aleñá playing well in preseason but Munir’s future seemingly up in the air, however there is reason to be optimistic. There is still a need for big signings, but rumours suggest that they are on the way.

As Neymar shifts his career path to become the Brazilian poster boy he always wanted to be but never could be in Catalonia, the club needs to move on from marketability and money-making and focus on sporting success. With the current board, it feels like a tough ask, but the foundations are in place. All it takes now is simple but important decisions to be put into action for the club to remain a superpower in Europe and the world.

Neymar never felt like a Barcelona player. A shady transfer story leading to a complete mess at the club, a shady father acting on his behalf who took the club for a ride, and a person who has always felt like a model, fashion icon and a celebrity before a football player. A person who seemed more interested in fame, money and his hairstyle. A person who let a transfer story go on for weeks without respecting the club or the fans. This isn’t a person that we should be begging to stay.

It is easy to think like 10-year-old me at this time but it feels like the same scenario can happen almost a decade after Ronaldinho left. A fresh page has been turned and success is more than possible.

 

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  • Ikhsan Rakala

    after ronaldinho left in 2008 and we finished in fourth, fans like me really skeptic how the team would cope the following season,,fortunately the beginning of 2008/09 we saw the dream team of guardiola when messi, iniesta, pique , busquets, were very young. today they all in their 30’s and wise man say you will never lie with your age. at least player like sergio roberto or rafinha should be given more chance to play. however it depend of the coach if he still believe in la masia academy.

  • Uzoma Curtis

    Live must certainly move on and barca is bigger than any club…. Neymar has gone but it’s time to rebuild great a great team… Hop great signings will arrive and with messsi in his prime barca have nothing to worry about… Great future ahead for us.. Stil the best team in the world… Forza barca

  • dlibert

    Clearly Neymar wants to be Justin Beber. In few years it may all wash out for him. This is what I predict. Remember that Ronaldinho had starred in 2002 winning the WC. He partied himself out at Paris . In the 2005 confed that Brazil team was better than the 2006 WC team that did not feature Ronaldinho.
    Ronny did bring us all to Barca here in the states post WC with the growth of SatTv that had GolTV channel showing LaLiga every week. In the states Barca grew in stature along with Messi even as Ronny left as Pep showed up. The rest is shared history. I’m not going to be watching French league because ney is in Paris. My footballs go back to watching 1970 cup with Pepe as a 10 year old and then living in Europe through the late 70’s. I was an Ajax fan when cruyff left for Barca. My passion for Barca has roots that won’t be easily broken even as changes occur.
    This should be addition by subtraction making a better team – better defensively- quicker and more. Athletic. Barca season comes down to few games and few goals one way or another. Hopefully this year it will break in their favor. They got robbed last year – plus remember all the chances Ney missed ? Maybe the news guys will be sharper and hungrier to succeed.

  • Jabez Ledres

    Neymar never felt like a Barcelona player. A shady transfer story leading to a complete mess at the club, a shady father acting on his behalf who took the club for a ride, and a person who has always felt like a model, fashion icon and a celebrity before a football player. A person who seemed more interested in fame, money and his hairstyle. A person who let a transfer story go on for weeks without respecting the club or the fans. This isn’t a person that we should be begging to stay.

    i disagree with that statement. Sounds a lot like sour grapes. Give the man what he’s due. He was all those things but also a great and excellent player for us FIRST.