The Brazil forward is still racking up the goals but he feels less relevant and more of a co-opted corporate machine than a footballer these days
For English nobles during the reign of Henry VIII the news that the king was coming to visit was a sure sign of impending ruin. In return for the honour of his company you could expect to see your house, farmland and local sewerage system trashed, pillaged and fatally bunged up, the royal party only moving on once all in its sights had been safely devastated.
During one nationwide procession in 1541 Henry stopped briefly at Hatfield and in the course of a spectacular hunt murdered 200 deer, a company of swans, two boats-full of assorted river birds and a trawlers worth of fish. So yeah, cheers for that. Now, on my braves. We ride to Welwyn Garden City! Its almost lunchtime.
All of which is of course a lead-in to any consideration of the current state of Neymar, another entity who travels with his own destructive heat; and a player whose chance of a move back to Barcelona seems to have sharpened this week if the news-leaks are anything to go by.
This is more than a just a human-scale move. How much would it cost these days to relocate the entire House of Neymar? Five years ago Barcelona spent 300,000 flying out Neymars core hangers-on via private jet to witness his unveiling.
Since then Neymars basic entourage has, we hear, swollen to at least 30. According to a recent article by the Portuguese journalist Marcus Alves even the brief trip back to Brazil for treatment on his ankle injury required the hiring of a football pitch-sized estate complete with private plane hangar. Any return to the Camp Nou would take in the full weight of that Neymar-industrial complex: Neymars hairdresser, Neymars photographer, Neymars town planner, his hat-blocker, his chimney sweep.
And yet something is stirring. There was even a report in midweek that Neymar would go on strike during Paris Saint-Germains tour of China in order to force his own exit. It is hard to know where to go with this sentence. You can stare at it, pondering the entities involved, decoding the full weight of their awfulness, qualities that could perhaps only be amplified by the suggestion Neymar is planning to do these things dressed as Jimmy Savile, or while simultaneously beheading a kestrel.
What is certain is that a supreme footballer, with a talent that still carries glimpses of something divine, has become a kind of sporting-commercial absurdity. What is the point of Neymar? And can he still be rescued?
And yes, rescued from a life of pleasure, wealth and relentless garlands; but rescued all the same. Aged 27 a footballer made from feathers and sherbet and gold leaf has become a deeply irritating superstar. In St Petersburg at the last World Cup it was startling to see the degrading of his on-field persona, the same player who was so charming four years previously behaving like a spoilt nine-year-old berating the local oompa loompas.
Worse though, and more concerning for the brand think, always, of the brand Neymar also feels oddly irrelevant. For a while his choices have seemed to come from something other than pure sport. And sport has begun to bite back. In the last two seasons Neymar has scored 51 goals in 58 games for PSG, a sustained run of form that no one, not even Neymar, really seems to care about. A grand talent is being expressed, but pointlessly.
This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!