In many ways it was a relief when Neymar finally signed for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazilian’s Barcelona exit was the transfer saga of the summer and until the very end, nobody knew whether the move would go through. After all, it’s easy to have reservations when the fee in question is £196 million.
Neymar was reported to have want-away tendancies dating back to May, yet still embarked on Barcelona’s US tour and regularly posted pictures of himself in club paraphernalia online.
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When you look back on the whole episode, one of the biggest spanners in the work came virtue of Gerard Pique.
Just as rumours of Neymar’s discontent began to rise, the Spaniard threw everybody with a now notorious Instagram post.
On July 23, the 30-year-old uploaded a selfie of him and his Brazilian teammate with the caption ‘se queda’ (‘he stays’ in English). The post has now amassed over one million likes and no less than 90,000 comments.
And while the photo never suggested a definitive answer to the debate, it certainly casted doubts – why would a colleague would do anything but tell the truth?
However, it seems Pique was just playing with supporters, after all.
During a press conference ahead of the Spanish Super Cup, the Spaniard recalled: "The day that I posted the 'se queda’, I already knew that he was 100 percent leaving, but it was my final shot.”
Then again, this has come in a summer where players have followed clubs, dropped subtle likes and posted cryptic comments in order to trick fans and the media.
It does beg the question as to how Neymar reacted, though. The 25-year-old probably didn’t foresee an innocent photograph going viral and affecting public opinion of his future.
Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian wasn’t best pleased with Pique admitting: "He was annoyed at me. I'm sure he had his reasons.
"In the end, we cannot judge him as he has taken a brave decision.
"He performed really well for us and has now left money in the bank, while we remember him fondly."
Judging by Neymar’s response then, perhaps the Instagram post actually did more harm than good. But Dani Alves’ sweet-talking at Lionel Messi’s wedding seems to be the point of no return.
"At [Lionel] Messi's wedding, Neymar already had this idea that he would leave [Barcelona].”
Any regrets about your invite list, Lionel?
Do you think Neymar was right to leave Barcelona this summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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