Why Chelsea Target Neymar Has To Stay In Brazil (But Should've Left Three Years Ago)
After the 2010 World Cup I told all my friends Neymar should go to Europe as soon as possible to face tougher opposition and step up his game. He was just an 18 year old with a bright future ahead. Everyone else wanted him to stay so we could see more of him at home. Now they all say he needs to go and I say he should stay. The reason is one year before fighting for the holy grail he has more to lose than to win now.
Most of the Europeans who challenge the level of the Brazilian league just watch their own tournaments. I watch them all. Neymar wouldn't have become a much better player if he were in Russia, Ukraine, Portugal, the Netherlands or France (who is Joey Barton to call it "amazon jungle league"? His French League should be considered torture under the Geneva Convention).
All of these leagues are less challenging than the Brazilian and clubs from these places rarely go far in the Champions League. But the 2010 Neymar could be in Spain or Germany for sure. He would be a more mature player. Of course he wouldn't have all the money he got from sponsorships and pay rises (do I have to remind you the economic crisis started in 2008 and it hasn't affected Brazil much?) Now it is too late for him to go.
If the Brazilian were to move to Europe for the next season all he would get is a difficult adaptation, loss of confidence and less respect from his rivals for having to struggle with the beginnings of the European journey. That is what many South Americans have to deal with, even the best of the best. Ronaldo had to go to PSV to start that process. Rivaldo went to Deportivo. Kaka had a slow start in AC Milan. And Ronaldinho showed up first at then poor PSG.
There is no reason to believe Neymar would be have a dazzling arrival anywhere he goes to. If he had left earlier we would know if he is the next Lionel Messi or the next Robinho. Since the idea was to keep him happy at home for the World Cup, get on with it. After all, it keeping players cozy at home has done a great service to English players, hasn't it?
Neymar has no time no to make adjustments. His performance against England was feeble, yet he can say he has just come back from holidays (the Brazilian season starts in April and most matches until then are really for worthless minor state leagues). Even so it hasn't been the first time his display is forgettable for Brazil.
Part of that blame belongs to former coach Dunga. He didn't start the necessary changes in the 2010 World Cup, didn't give any youngsters a break. So now there is no one to help Neymar to deal with the pressure -- Brazil had to replace a winning generation just with spoiled starlets.
No one really knows what Neymar can achieve in 2014. If I were a big fan of the Brazilian national team, which I am not, I would expect a brighter future for him in 2018. But that also depends on him leaving for one of the top leagues and doing well. Older Neymar will have to learn new tricks.