Should you ever get back with your ex?
Instinctively, a lot of you will say: f**k no.
The reason for the break-up often looms over reincarnated relationships, waiting to strike again.
And even the process of the break-up itself is enough to tarnish the second attempt beyond acceptability.
And yet, there are instances when a couple have traversed a break-up and come out the other side happier.
I can’t actually think of a specific example right now, but there must be at least one.
I only ask because there are significant rumours regarding Neymar and a return to Barcelona.
Several media outlets are claiming Lionel Messi has taken a break from frustrating Copa America duty to phone Josep Maria Bartomeu, encouraging the club’s president to sign the Brazilian (again) over Antoine Griezmann.
If true, Barca’s No10 is evidently keen on an MSN reunion.
And who could blame him?
Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez scored a combined 364 goals in three seasons together between 2014 – 2017 — 173 assists, if you’re interested.
The trio inspired Barca to eight trophies, including a treble in 2014/15.
At their harmonious best, the South American forwards were the stuff of Football Manager fantasy (> Finances > General > Transfer Budget > Increase > Save).
After a season in which Barcelona only won La Liga by 11 points (that’s a bad season, apparently), it’s no wonder Neymar represents an inviting backward step to some.
But won’t the same conflict that caused his 2017 exit reemerge?
It depends on what the cause was exactly.
Some think Neymar’s ego was uncomfortable playing second fiddle to Messi.
Others believe his decision to join PSG was motivated purely by money.
Whatever the case, it’s difficult to think of a genuine footballing reason for dropping standards in the prime of one’s career.
Two years in the not-so-green grass of Paris may have taught him there are worse places to be than Messi’s shadow.
And his pockets have been suitably lined — he’ll hardly be on peanuts back at the Nou Camp either.
A smooth return is hypothetically possible.
Even the most begrudging fans would surely quell their scorn after a few goals.
Neymar’s time in France has followed the prediction of many.
After two seasons, he’s averaging pretty much a goal per game with plenty of assists on top.
The rainbow kicks against well-beaten Toulouse have gone viral and he’s collected a decent haul of domestic medals (four or five, depending on what you make of the Trophée des Champions).
He won the league by a comfortable margin, then retained it with an embarrassingly comfortable margin.
And, of course, it’s not gone well in Europe.
So while he’s exhibited his talent on a weekly basis, his reputation has nosedived everywhere outside France.
It’s plausible the 27-year-old now regrets his decision, one that may have cost him a fitting legacy — something many would value above trophies and astronomic state-funded wages.
You can’t turn back time – no matter how many Ligue 1 full-backs you’ve dribbled past – but with prime years left in the tank Neymar may feel a second stint with Barcelona is his best chance of redemption.