Does Neymar really have to leave Barcelona to be the best in the world?

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Right from the very beginning of his career it was clear that Neymar Jr. was destined for the very top of the football tree.

It was an opinion shared by many as he made his way through the ranks at Brazilian club Santos. Even another Santos old boy, Pele, remarked very early on that Brazil may have finally found the player to take his mantle.

All the while, however, was the niggling feeling of not having produced the goods in one of Europe's top five leagues, arguably the best in the world. Whatever the machinations of the deal to take him to Barcelona in 2013, he has repaid any amount of transfer fee already.

A first season of transition was followed by a stunning second campaign as he, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez went on the rampage, scoring 122 goals between them in all competitions. A new record.


Only Messi scored more goals for the club than Neymar in the period and whilst the former has been injured in 2015/16, the latter has taken on the responsibility with aplomb. At the time of writing, Neymar remains top of the scoring charts in La Liga and playing a brand of samba football every bit as good as that seen in the Brasileiro just a few seasons ago.

In fact, so good has he been in 2015 that there is every chance he will take the podium alongside Messi in the 2015 Ballon d'Or awards. It's preposterous to think that Barca's three strikers alone have scored more than the teams of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

So it's no wonder that Manchester United are again doing their utmost to persuade the player and his father that his future, immediate or otherwise, lies at Old Trafford rather than Camp Nou.

King pin

It would appear that the player, perhaps more accurately his father, doesn't see a way for his son to be kingpin at Barcelona anytime soon.

Messi is unquestionably the main man and unless there is a huge shock he'll be at Barca for a good four or five more years. For a player that wants to conquer the world, that means playing second fiddle until 2020/21 as a start point and that clearly doesn't fit the aspirations and desires of the Brazilian and his entourage.

Louis van Gaal allegedly tabled a £139m bid in the summer for Neymar, an astronomical transfer fee that would have blown any other out of the water. A world-record bid can certainly be seen as a sign of United's intent and willingness to do business.

Second billing

The ace up their sleeve? They can offer Neymar a starring role now. He would be the headline act at Manchester United with immediate effect.  No waiting around, no kow-towing to anyone else.

Neymar can certainly fulfil all of his professional desires if he stays put in Barcelona, including eventually becoming the best player in the world.

But will second-billing to Messi ensure that Manchester is his preferred destination?

Premier League
Manchester United
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