During his tenure at ESPN FC, Steve Nicol has never been shy about sharing how he feels about Neymar Jr. He’s called him “immature” because he “invites contact,” said he’s turning himself into the “#1 clown in the world,” and charged him with being a “big baby” when he was seeking a transfer away from Paris Saint-Germain. Earlier this week, the 57-year-old former Liverpool defender continued to bash the Brazilian.
He calls the rumor ridiculous before essentially stating that if Barcelona wanted Neymar last summer they would have gotten him because PSG was desperate to get rid of him and they simply didn’t try hard enough. That’s not true at all. Barcelona desperately wanted him but didn’t have the players or the money necessary to entice PSG to sell per ESPN‘s own reporting. The reigning French champions very much wanted to keep him but were willing to sell for the right price.
At this point, Dyer chimes in and calls Barcelona and PSG petulant for the way they’ve handled transfer negotiations regarding Neymar going back to when he originally signed for PSG in 2017 for €222 million (The Guardian). He somehow blames PSG for Barcelona’s overspending following the loss of Neymar on players like Ousmane Dembélé (€105 million, ESPN) and Philippe Coutinho (€160 million, ESPN). He even goes as far as to blame PSG for inflating the transfer market and causing clubs to overspend on players like João Félix (Atlético Madrid, €126 million) and Griezmann (Barcelona, €120 million). He neglected to point out that Barcelona set that €222 million figure as Neymar’s buyout and their refusal to negotiate forced PSG to pay the full amount, just like Barcelona did with Griezmann when they paid his €120 million buyout set by Atlético. If anyone is to blame, it’s Barcelona.
Nicol responds reasonably enough by saying it was PSG’s right to sign Neymar in an effort to win the UEFA Champions League but that plan has rebounded on them due to the Brazilian’s change in attitude.
“Neymar at Barcelona was this talented, exciting, professional guy who loved playing with [Lionel] Messi and it brought the best out of him,” Nicol said. “And then he goes to PSG and he turns into this egotistical maniac who’s running around in Ligue 1 trying to make everybody else look like a mug and being unprofessional off the field.”
You can tell by the way he says “Ligue 1” that he has zero respect for the French league and based on his previous comments I mentioned in this article, he likely has zero respect for Neymar and PSG as well.
The cringeworthy video concludes with a discussion about why Barcelona would even want Neymar, a player who is largely considered as the third-best player in the world.
“I would suggest that they want him back because they know there is one man who can sort this guy out and it’s Lionel Messi,” Nicol said.
Nicol failed to explain why Messi hasn’t been able to sort out Griezmann, Coutinho, or Dembélé, who all arrived as talented players and are currently either struggling at the club or not even playing for them at the moment. But somehow he can sort out Neymar, who has scored three-game winning goals this season and has been pretty spectacular for PSG when healthy. Oh, and let’s not pretend Neymar didn’t pull some of his famous antics at Barcelona with Messi looking on.
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