Brazilian legend Rivaldo believes compatriot Neymar “made a mistake” in joining Paris Saint-Germain, and needs to move this summer to turn his career back around. The former World Cup winner feels that returning to Barcelona – where Rivaldo also became an all-time great – would “change everything” in his life and career.
Neymar has made it known that he now wants to leave Paris, after such a controversial world-record move in 2017, and it is understood that the French champions will allow him to go for the right deal. The situation has seen a lot of questions asked about the star’s private life and discipline, but Rivaldo – speaking at a Betfair event at Camp Nou – feels that would be solved at Barcelona.
“He’s a brilliant player who made a mistake in leaving Barcelona,” Rivaldo explained. “I think it’s a good opportunity to come back, and if he comes back here, everything will change in his life, and he’ll have good possibilities.
“More than not working, I think he’s done good things for PSG. The league is not the same, like the English league or Spanish league. The French league good but not so good for a player of Neymar’s level.
“He has to take the decision now, not wait for another season. Leaving Barcelona was a very sudden and quick decision. Also, the PSG president has left the door open, if he wants to leave, for him or any other players.
“Neymar has a few things that aren’t good, but I think if he comes back, he’s not a child. At 27 years of age, I think he can change. It’s a moment now to take advantage of the moment, for Barcelona… or [Real] Madrid. There’s talk of Madrid, or English football. I think whichever one he goes to he has the opportunity to be the best in the world.”
One of the reasons cited for Neymar leaving was the willingness to escape Leo Messi’s shadow, and become the best player in the world in is own right, to win the Ballon D’Or. Rivaldo – who won the prize in 1999 – does not feel that is the case, and there would be no issues with the Argentine.
“Well, everyone knows there was a financial element, that’s why it happened. It was a tremendous bid. It was a lot of money for Barcelona, and more that than being in Messi’s shadow. Neymar knows Messi is a great player. He didn’t worry about the shadow of Messi.”
Rivaldo also backed Neymar to overcome initial supporter anger, but urged him to knuckle down.
“Well, 70% are not going to be happy with him, and are probably going to be annoyed with him! But I think he has the personality to win them over, and if he does well, scores goals, plays football like he’s always done, do his job, doesn’t go out with friends partying and makes Barcelona champions, everything will be forgotten.
“For Neymar, it’s only at the start that people are annoyed here, but here is his home. Once he starts playing again, people will love him again.”
Asked which English clubs best suit Neymar if he does go to the Premier League, Rivaldo said: “Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City.”
As official betting partner of Barcelona, Betfair invited supporters from all around the world to play in a tournament at Camp Nou. Fans won a place by testing their Barca knowledge in a quiz named ‘Beat The Elite’ where they had to better the score of 1999 Ballon d’Or winner and Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo.
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