He arrived from Santos as the most promising player in the world and did not stop growing. Hand in hand with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he led one of the best tridents of the century and won the Champions League in the memorable Triplet of the 2015/16 season. However, Neymar, after winning 10 titles in four seasons, grabbed the divine belt and his boots and left for a lower level league.
He left in search of commanding his own team and, in the process, becoming one of the highest paid in the world in the most expensive transfer in the history of soccer.
Unai Emery: "Neymar left Barça because he had to work for Messi".
The reason why Neymar Jr. decided to leave FC Barcelona for Ligue 1. "One of the reasons why Neymar leaves Barça is because the game is completely directed towards Messi and Neymar is forced to work for him," Emery said.
Emery declared himself a supporter of Pep Guardiola's Barça over the current one. "For taste, I prefer the Barça of yesteryear, Guardiola's, but the current one is also very good, with Luis Enrique's concept taken up and amplified by Valverde with his 4-4-2. This is one of the reasons why Neymar leaves Barça, because the game is completely directed towards Messi and Neymar is forced to work for him," he argued.
In the former coach's opinion , the key in a big club is to know who plays the role of leader. "One day, Jorge Valdano made the following reflection to me: 'At Barça, the leader is Messi; in Madrid, it's Florentino Perez; and at Atletico Madrid, it's Simeone.' A player, a president and a coach. Each time, a different leader profile. I know when I am the main person in a group and when I am not. It is a process that every coach must live and internalize, it is something you learn with time and experience. At each club you have to know what role you play and what role you assign to the rest of the group. My opinion is that at PSG the leader is called Neymar. Or more accurately, the leader will be called Neymar because he is becoming one. Neymar arrived at PSG to be the leader, to live the process necessary to become the number 1 in the world. At Manchester City, the leader is Pep. At PSG, the leader must be Neymar," he stressed.
According to Emery, his main mission this season was one: "The first thing I did was to define what the priority was. And it was this: I must make Neymar happy. This is the first thing, to have him happy. It doesn't matter how. I had many discussions with Neymar about this. Some didn't work out, but others were very successful."
On managing the egos of a dressing room, Emery again pointed to Barça and also Real Madrid. "Coaching Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar is not easy: they are the best in the world and that weighs a lot. We have to adapt to them. Guardiola at Manchester City doesn't have a major figure to lean on, he has great players who, at the moment of truth, become a major figure. And when it was necessary to take radical decisions, Pep took them, for example, with Deco, Ronaldinho or Ibrahimovic when the latter had problems with Messi. And in doing so, he avoided serious problems," he said.