Paris syndrome is a ‘condition in which some individuals suffer extreme shock at discovering that Paris is different from their expectations’.
As luck would have it, the latest patient to come down with a bout of Hiroaki Ota’s 1986 syndrome also happens to be the world’s most expensive footballer.
How it didn’t get flagged during Neymar’s PSG medical remains a mystery.
The Brazilian, who left Barcelona in the summer of 2017, appears to have had enough of life in the French capital.
As if turning up a week late to training wasn’t enough to give off Big Middle Finger vibes, Neymar used his unauthorised break to reminisce about the best moment of his career. A career that has so far included Champions League and Copa Libertadores glory, amongst a host of honours.
The moment Neymar chose was Barcelona’s ‘remontada‘ comeback against PSG two years ago, in which an improbable 6-1 victory saw the Spaniard’s overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit. How do you say ‘troll’ in French?
You’d forgive the PSG hierarchy for wanting to cut their losses and bow to Neymar’s Barcelona desires, especially with Kylian Mbappe’s increasingly convincing R9 impressions.
Mbappe’s marketability in France, not to mention 43 goals for club and country last season, tip the balance in his favour when it comes being the main man at the Parc des Prince going forward.
But it’s not quite as simple as PSG agreeing a gargantuan fee with Barcelona and washing their hands of the Brazilian.
Ernesto Valverde- a coach not known for his attacking flair- has Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Malcom to choose from going forward next season.
Barcelona have no need for Neymar at the moment, even if two from Coutinho, Dembele and Malcom were to leave the Nou Camp this summer.
It’s clear that Neymar doesn’t want to be in Paris, but Barcelona’s car park is currently full to the brim. There isn’t space for a Smart car, let alone a Hummer.
PSG won’t be thrilled at the prospect of dealing with an unhappy Brazilian all season, especially with his recent spate of trolling.
Neymar has therefore found himself in the awkward position of being unwanted by current and prospective employers.
It’s a similar story at international level.
Brazil’s 2019 Copa America triumph was built around the pulsating wizardry of Everton and skilful graft of Gabriel Jesus.
In David Neres, Roberto Firmino and Richarlison, Tite has willing workers capable of putting in a shift at both ends of the pitch when required.
As bizarre as it sounds to discredit a 27-year-old with 60 goals in 97 international appearances, there’s a valid argument to be made that Brazil are a better team when Neymar doesn’t play.
Neymar is on the outside looking in with both club and country.
All of which is a deep shame. Strip away the surrounding circus and Neymar is a majestic footballer capable of producing moments on a pitch few others in the game can match.
Not since Ronaldinho has a player stamped his childlike imagination on the game. Where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are immaculate perfection, Neymar is combustible flair.
He’s finished ‘best of the rest’ in two of the last four Ballon d’Or awards, although ironically the move that was supposed to see him close the gap to Messi and Ronaldo has widened it, especially with the emergence of Mbappe and Virgil van Dijk.
But what next? Neymar may well have to head back to Paris with his tail between his legs and wait another year for Barcelona, or Real Madrid for that matter, to free up the funds required to bring him back to Spain.
A second forced transfer will, in the eyes of some, be another stain on his character.
A different way to look at it is that Neymar doesn’t want to spend the prime of his career in a league that doesn’t challenge him, at a side still struggling to compete in the latter stages of the Champions League.
Neymar needs to move carefully, or risk being exiled at club level and as a result find himself surplus to requirements with Brazil.
The sooner he seeks a cure for his bout of Paris syndrome, the better.
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