Five-time European champions Liverpool have their work cut out in the quest to keep up with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a league game against North London giants Tottenham Hotspur on the horizon.
Liverpool and Manchester City are almost inseparable in the race for the Premier League title.
Manchester City sealed top spot earlier on Saturday with a straightforward 2-0 win over Fulham away from home and Liverpool will have to beat Spurs to reclaim their position back.
The Reds started the weekend as the top spot recipient but they have dropped to second spot with the Citizens’ win over Fulham.
Ahead of the game, Liverpool have been boosted with the news that Tottenham Hotspur will be without two of their best midfielders.
Both Eric Dier and Harry Winks have been ruled out of the game against the Reds as Spurs try to stop the rot.
Tottenham have not won in four games and that has put their spot in the Champions League places under serious threat.
Liverpool will start as slight favourites with odds of 1.55 while Spurs have winning odds of 6.05.
The stalemate between the two sides is at the odds of 4.25 according to Surebet247.
Carragher names two players in Premier League that are undisciplined
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed that Manchester United prolific midfielders Pogba Pogba and new signing Bruno Fernandes are the most undisciplined players in the English Premier League.
Bruno Fernandes is currently one of Manchester United’s most important players ahead of Paul Pogba, Ole Gunner Solskjaer has been deploying him the midfield of United’s midfield.
Carragher said putting Paul Pogba alongside Bruno Fernandes would make Manchester United far too undisciplined defensively.
“Fernandes and Pogba are not disciplined,” Carragher told talkSPORT.
“They are probably two of the most undisciplined players in the Premier League.
“You can maybe carry one but you can’t play the two of them. It’s one or the other.
“I do not believe Pogba and Fernandes can play in the same team so you have to play Fernandes and he has played really well since he joined.”
Why Sports Betting is Worth a Try if You’re a Big Fan of Any Sports
Sports betting is becoming more widespread in the United States. There are now 20 states that have already signed a law that allows the local operations of sports betting. This is mainly thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA of 1992.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court has stricken down PASPA of 1992 that has always been the reason why sports betting was considered federally illegal in the country. Since then, it has been up to each state whether they’d like to legalize and regulate local sports betting.
Well, even when PASPA was in effect, Americans have already been wagering on sports and have been visiting sites like Nostrabet to look for offshore-based online bookies. Online sports betting has always been a loophole in the country because there was and is no law that prohibits Americans from placing bets on online casinos and bookies that are based outside the US.
However, since more and more states are now legalizing sports betting, it is likely that the Americans will be betting locally, which of course, is good for the US economy. Now, if you’ve never wagered on sports before, you probably are thinking about why you should.
Sports betting is not just really about having fun and adding excitement to the sports you’re following or watching. There’s more to it and most of the time, sports fanatics are pleasantly enjoying betting on sports. Here are some reasons why sports betting is worth a try if you’ve been thinking about it.
- You can make money from it
Sports betting is gambling and as with any other way to gamble, you can make money from it. The money you can make from sports betting will really depend on how much you can risk. If you place a big bet and win, then yes, you’ll earn more than just a few bucks.
However, if you’re just really doing this for fun, a few extra bucks should be enough. There are people who take sports betting seriously because it’s their only way to make more money. They are the ones who are betting on sports professionally.
Yes, that’s right. Sports betting can be a profession too. There are sports bettors out there who’d even make millions from this activity. Some of the most popular professional sports bettors are 50 Cent, Floyd Mayweather, and Ashton Kutcher.
- It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby
Many are iffy about trying sports betting because they think that it could be an expensive habit. Sure, it could be but at the end of the day, it’s you who will control this. Sportsbooks don’t really require you to bet big amounts on each game.
There are even bookies who don’t require you to bet on a minimum. Typically, however, many sportsbooks would require you to bet at least 10 US dollars. It depends on the odds that you’ll be betting on as well.
This is why it’s important that you shop around for odds first before you place your bets. It will help you get the most out of your money, whether it’s a big or small amount. What’s important is that you maximize the value of your money and the best you can do is look for the best odds online or not. This means that you’ll have to check the odds that different bookies offer. You can have at least three bookies for this.
- It’s a great way to entertain yourself
Many would say that they wager on sports for fun and it is fun. It adds thrill and excitement to the sports you’re watching. You may already see yourself very hyped about the matches that you watch, especially if it involves your favorite teams. However, it’s completely different if you know that you’ve wagered on it.
You’ll find yourself cheering more and even more tense at times. Still, it’s a great way to kill time or to make a match more thrilling and exciting. Surely, sports betting can be risky, but these are things that you have to understand before getting into it. It’s all part of the thrill. You can just think of it as something that you pay for to have fun.
It’s kind of like going to the cinema. You pay for the movie or film that you watch without the assurance that you’ll enjoy it. In sports betting, you place a bet on the team of your choice and you wait for the match to end to know whether your bet is worth it or not.
Careers in Sports that Don’t Require You to be Athletic
Having a career in sports doesn’t mean that you have to play a sport and be athletic. The truth is that there are many other careers in sports that do not require you to be an athlete. Sometimes, you don’t even have to be a sports fanatic to work in the industry.
Sure, you can just visit Betenemy and look for a sportsbook where you can place your bets and turn this into your career. After all, a professional career in sports betting can be real. However, there still are so many things that you can do in the sports industry that can help you make a living.
Don’t have any idea about what you can do professionally in the sports industry that doesn’t concern playing any sports? Well, here are the options that you have.
- Photographer or Photojournalist
If you’re in the field of photography or you know a lot about taking pictures, then try taking photographs of sports events. This can be a career that can make you earn around 35,000 US dollars each year. What you’ll do here is to document a sports match or event. When watching a live NBA match, you probably see a lot of them at the courtside. You can also notice how much effort they do to get the perfect shots.
There are a few ways to go about this. You can be employed by the sports league itself, a sports magazine, or the newspaper. You can get paid by the hour if this is the case. However, there are also sports photojournalists who would work independently. What they do is sell the great shots that they took to different papers or networks.
You don’t really have to be athletic to be a coach in any sports. You do need the experience, however. As a coach, your job is to guide the athletes through a game and prepare them for competitions. This is something that you can do if you have a passion for the sport of your choice and being a mentor and teacher.
A sports coach can make around 34,000 US dollars annually. This is the average salary of coaches in any sports like football, basketball, and baseball. Surely, however, if you coach teams in the big leagues like the NBA or the EPL, you’ll earn more than that each year.
- Fitness Director
Your main concern and task as a fitness director have something to do with the physical fitness of the athletes. You’ll be in charge of scheduling their training sessions. Anything that is health and fitness-related will be your concern.
You don’t really need a degree in health and fitness to get into this industry. A high school diploma would already do but you’ll need at least two years of experience in the field of health and fitness. You can start as a trainer or fitness instructor at the gym and make your way up. A fitness director can make up to 40,000 US dollars each year.
- Sports Events Coordinator
As a sports event coordinator, you’ll be responsible for organizing sports events. You’ll have to do the planning and you’ll have to meet with the sports leagues and teams involved in the event to make sure that you cater to everything that they need.
You should know where to rent or purchase the equipment that will be used and you’ll also be responsible for booking the venue. Know that you can also do other events outside the sports industry if you have great knowledge in event planning. You can make as much as 50,000 US dollars a year in this career.
- Sports Psychologist
Your main concern as a sports psychologist is the well-being and the mental state of the athletes. Athletes are also prone to having mental problems like anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem. It will be your job to guide them to overcome these things.
However, even athletes who are doing fine mentally may also need your guidance when it comes to goal-setting. You will need a degree in psychology for this one and it’s worth it because if you have this as a career, you can make as much as 80,000 US dollars each year.
- Sportscaster or writer
If you have the knack for writing then this is for you. You can work in newspapers or magazines and cover sports events or anything related to sports. This can be a fast-paced career because you have the edge if you have the right sources and if you can come up with a release or content first.
It’s an advantage if you have a degree in writing, but there are publications that wouldn’t really require you to have a degree. If you don’t want to go to the route of employment, you can also set up your own website or blog on sports and eventually earn money from it. Annually, a sportswriter can make as much as over 60,000 US dollars.
If you dig deeper and once you become part of the sports industry, you’ll realize that there are actually plenty of career paths in it. These are just a few paths that you can take.
Factors to Consider When Placing Bets on Any Sports
If you have no experience in wagering on sports, you probably think that it’s a simple process of placing a bet on a team that’s more likely to win. This is the idea of sports betting, but it’s a bit more complex when you think and learn more about it.
You can always start by looking for a sportsbook that you can trust. Nowadays, betting online is the best way to go. It’s simply convenient and easier. You don’t have to go elsewhere and you just really have plenty of options online.
Visiting websites like Efirbet would help you decide on which online sportsbook would be best for your interest. You need to know that determining the best sportsbook will heavily rely on your needs and preferences.
What to consider here are factors like the bonuses that you can get, the odds that the bookie offers, whether the sports you’d like to wager on is available and whether the payment option a bookie offers is convenient enough for you.
It’s best to look into at least three online sportsbooks before making a decision. You need to compare and contrast the differences that your options have. It’s also completely fine if you choose more than one bookie.
Once you’re all set with the sportsbook of your choice and your betting account is ready, there still are a few things to consider. These are factors that concern how and why you should be placing your bet.
- Team Schedule
You need to look at the schedule of the team that you’re eyeing. This has a huge impact on a team’s performance. A hectic schedule can affect their gameplay and this can affect the bet you’re placing. A tired team won’t perform well and if you take a look at the team’s lineup on consecutive matches, and they don’t switch players, they are likely to lose a lot.
Now, if a team’s schedule is hectic but they have enough players to switch around, then you have a reason to believe that they can still perform well. This means that you don’t just look at the time or dates that they will be playing. You also need to check the rotation of their players.
- Team’s Current form and quality
The team’s current form will let you get an insight into how they are likely to perform at the next match. Luckily for you, taking a look at this is easier nowadays. There are many websites that would display the team’s standing based on their previous matches. You can easily see how many times they’ve won and lost in the last matches that they had.
Taking a look at the team’s form this way is just really an overall look of they performed. You can still look into this thoroughly and understand how their previous matches went with all the relevant details you need.
The relevant details include the momentum and confidence that a team and the athletes have. These would determine the quality of gameplay that a team has. When it comes to overall quality, however, you’ll need to do more research and make sure that you’re updated on how the athletes are doing. You need to take a look at the players’ standings and what their strengths and weaknesses are to be able to asses the quality of the team that you have.
- Home advantage and away records
There are studies that prove how the venue of the match affects the gameplay of athletes. Home advantage makes sense because it affects the morale of the players. It motivates them to perform better and they are simply more eager to win when they are at the home court.
Of course, it’s unavoidable that there will be matches wherein they have to be visitors. What you can do here is to check their away records. Dig deep and assess how the players do whenever they play in a different court or field. How does that affect them? Do they usually lose because of this? These are just a few questions that you should find answers for.
- Injuries and Suspension
This is probably one of the obvious factors to consider before you place a bet. You need to check who’s injured or who is suspended because these players could be the ones who are really needed by the team. However, it’s best to be objective about it. Not because a player is very popular, it means that he or she is already a big loss. You need to assess their importance in the team.
You need to check how many players will be gone for the next games. What their roles are and who will be replacing them while they are away. The impact of these happenings on the team’s performance is what you should always consider.
Eden Hazard the missing piece at Bernabéu
In 2015 we wrote a report about Eden Hazard transfer to Real Madrid, four years after see what has changed. please read below (updated report comes after).
Update 2020: Eden Hazard, born 7 January 1991 is now a Real Madrid player wit a salary of 10.4 million, He wears the No.7 jersey previously worn by Cristiano Ronaldo.
All time sensational striker Eden Hazard has been wonderful and has impressed the Blues in so many ways until this season when he has become shambolic.
According to reports lately, Real Madrid has been keen on signing the Belgian star and the deal should be done in the next January transfer window.
The 24-year-old striker is understood to be on the radar of the Santiago Bernabeu for the aging Cristiano Ronaldo who is already 30 and his manager is looking forward to adding Hazard to his team.
The Spanish club has shown their interest in Hazard from an impending transfer ban following the bridge of law in the signing of teenagers and this will enable the Los Blancos to increase their bid for the star.
The striker has appeared in 25 matches and has failed to score due to poor performance and this has reportedly been part of their poor functioning this season.
It has really been tough for the Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho so far.
A deal in the next summer window looks highly unlikely for the blues in signing key players and replacement of the 24-year-old star is on the radar.
Update: Why Eden Hazard is the perfect replacement for Ronaldo at Real Madrid
After the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo left the Real Madrid for Juventus in the summer without a Galáctico-style replacement being brought in – although several years before, we have reported that Hazard could be on his way to Real Madrid but a rare opportunity was opened for other players already in the team to step up and show that they could be the new superstars to replace Ronaldo.
Gareth Bale constant injury summed up how that process has gone in addition to that Isco falling out with Santiago Solari, it became very clear that new energy is needed.
Eden Hazard has already made it clear, in public that he would love a “dream” move to Real. to make it worst he has been reluctant to sign a new contract with Chelsea, there is a little doubt he would be a Chelsea player in summer.
Abramovich will need to be willing to make a move happen of course and to state the obvious, Chelsea’s decision to sign Christian Pulisic – He is someone that can play in the same position as Hazard’s – this can be read as “Roma Abramovich is preparing for the inevitable.”
With the continued diminishing returns in the league following it clear that Real Madrid are in need of a major overhaul and there is no doubt that Hazard is the main man to fill Ronaldo’s shoe at the Bernabeu. Arguably, Hazard would be the perfect piece to build Real Madrid.
Chelsea Transfer Ban
Chelsea former player Jimmy Floyd says the transfer ban imposed on Chelsea makes it even more feasible that Eden Hazard will signs a new deal – he will become a free agent in 2020.
When he was asked how the transfer ban would make Hazard to the club, Hasselbaink told
“Even more so, because they can’t replace him, or even get somebody who they can work on to become as good as Hazard.
“I know they have already bought (Christian) Pulisic [from Borussia Dortmund], but they will need to add more if they lose Hazard.
Hasselbaink also thinks that the transfer ban will benefit young players at Stamford Bridge.
“It is not great news for Chelsea, especially with how things are going at this moment in time,” he said.
“Chelsea need to strengthen the team but, on the other hand, you can spin it – it is, in a way, good news for the younger players.
“For Callum Hudson-Odoi and also for (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek, who now will get chances.
“They [Chelsea] will have to look at their youth if this is ban is upheld.”
Will Eden Hazard ever leave Chelsea and is the signing (Christian) Pulisic a rush buy?
Beginners Guide To Betting On Soccer
We all know that soccer is the greatest game on the planet and a joy to watch, no questions asked. Even if you’re not living and breathing with the outcome of your favorite team, you can still feel the thrill of victory and agony of defeat by placing bets on virtually any match in the world.
It’s a great way to make every match mean something and perhaps pocket a little extra cash as well. At first glance, betting on soccer compared to other sports can be a little confusing. However, once you get the hang of it, there’s nothing to it.
A great resource for learning more about betting in the UK is BCUK. In the meantime, let’s go over some of the basics of betting on soccer.
Betting the Moneyline
The most common form of betting on soccer is to bet on the moneyline. To put it in layman’s terms, this is betting on the outcome of a match. The caveat, of course, is that soccer has draws, giving you three possible outcomes for any given match to end.
All three results will have a different moneyline attached based on how likely each outcome is to come true, at least according to the oddsmakers.
The lower the number, the more likely that option will come to fruition in the minds of the oddsmakers. That means the payout will be lower, although it will be considered a “safer” bet.
If a particular result has a higher number, oddsmakers don’t believe the game will end that way, but if it does, there will be a higher payout.
For example, Team A has a moneyline of 1.40, Team B has a moneyline of 8.25, and a draw has a moneyline of 5.50. In this scenario, Team A is heavily favored and is likely to win, making them a “safer” choice. Betting on Team B to win carries a lot of risk but would have a high payout.
Draw No Bet
If you’re thrown off by the possibility of a draw in soccer betting compared to other sports, soccer betting does offer wagers that eliminate the possibility of a tie. Essentially, you bet on one team or the other to win outright as you would any other sport.
If that match ends in a draw, your bet is void, and your money is returned. Otherwise, if the team you bet on wins, you collect, and if they lose, then you lose the bet.
However, making a “Draw No Bet” wager will alter the moneyline for both teams. The moneyline for both teams will decrease in value, meaning there is less of a payout for that result than if you placed the same bet with three possible outcomes.
This type of bet is usually made when the bettor feels confident in picking a team but believes the game will be close and wants some protection if it ends in a draw.
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Double Chance Betting
Another option available when betting on soccer is called the double chance. As the name implies, you’re able to bet on two of the three outcomes. That means you could bet on a specific team winning or the match ending in a draw. You could also place a double chance bet on either team winning, essentially betting that the match won’t end in a draw.
Naturally, placing a bet on two of the three outcomes increases your chances of winning. However, the moneyline for the three outcomes changes with double chance betting, giving you shorter odds and a smaller payout for each option.
For example, a team with a moneyline of 2.50 for a traditional bet might have a moneyline of 1.80 when using double chance betting.
Betting Goal Lines
Similar to other sports, it’s possible to bet on soccer against the spread. In theory, this takes the draw out of the equation, as there will be only two possible outcomes for betting purposes.
Most games will have a spread of 0.5 goals, meaning it’s wise to bet on the underdog if you think a draw is a strong possibility. Of course, more lopsided matchups will have spreads of 1.5 goals, 2.5 goals, and so on. This puts pressure on the favorite to win by multiple goals while giving bettors some leeway if they bet on the underdog.
Betting the Total
One last form of soccer betting is predicting the total number of goals that will be scored in a given match or even the number of goals a particular team will score. This is similar to betting the over/under in other sports.
However, there is often a twist in betting total goals in a soccer match because goals often come at a premium. Goal totals will be set at multiples of .25, and bookmakers will allow bettors to make two bets.
For example, if the total goals line is set at 2.25, half of the money you bet will be on “over 2,” and the other half will be on “over 2.5.”
If the match finishes with two goals scored, the “over 2” bet will be refunded while you will lose the “over 2.5” bet. However, if three goals were to be scored in that game, you would win both bets.
Corners and Cards
In addition to betting on the results in soccer, other types of wages are common. For instance, bettors can put money down on the number of corner kicks in a game, similar to an over/under. There is also a moneyline for what team will earn more corner kicks during the match.
Finally, bookmakers will handicap corner kicks, meaning that one team will be expected to earn more corner kicks, similar to a team having to win by a certain amount of goals to cover the spread.
Also, bookmakers will take bets on bookings during a match. Before the match, a number will be set on the total number of bookings, and bettors will either bet over or under on that number.
Most bookmakers give a value of 10 points for a yellow card and 25 points for a red card, which is important to keep in mind when considering a booking points bet.
It’s also possible to simply bet yes or no on there being a red card in a match, which is a simple, straight-up bet.
Ends at 90
One golden rule for soccer betting that everyone should know about is that betting always ends after 90 minutes. In cup competitions like England’s FA Cup or knockout stage games in international tournaments like the World Cup, games that end in a draw after 90 minutes will go to added time or penalty kicks to decide what team advances.
However, all bets will be decided once the 90 minutes of regulation is over. For example, if you bet on a particular team winning a World Cup quarterfinal game and that team advances on penalties, you will lose the bet because the game officially ended in a draw after 90 minutes.
This is an important rule that anyone who bets on soccer should know about beforehand.
How Freddie Ljungberg Reacted To Paul Scholes Bizarre Comments
While responding to Paul Scholes, Freddie Ljungberg has hit back at him following the unwarranted criticism from the former Manchester United midfielder.
As you reckon, Ljungberg took charge of Arsenal first team as an interim manager at the weekend, His first game as a manager ended with a 2-2 draw against Norwich City.
Whilst some post-match analysis has blamed his poor defense, Scholes did not blame the player but aimed dig at Ljungberg.
Sky Sports cameras captured a scene where the Arsenal legend arrived at Carrow Road sporting with a grey jumper and shirt combination.
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However,Paul Scholes unimpressed with Ljungberg after he claimed he should have dressed more formally.
“You would think he’d be out in a suit to show a bit of proudness that he took the job,” Scholes said on Premier League Productions.
“To me that’s a great start – shirt and tie to show some discipline.
“I don’t think he’ll be the right man.”
Ljungberg has since hit back at Scholes by insisting it’s his decision over what attire he wears on matchday whilst also revealing that he is yet to be fitted for a suit.
“I’ve seen coaches with a tracksuit, suit and sweater and I’ll decide on matchday what I will where,” Ljungberg said during his pre-Brighton press conference at London Colney.
“I haven’t been fitted for a club suit but you will know what I where.
“That’s extremely important. It happened so quickly that the suit was at the dry cleaners and I couldn’t get it ready,” he joked.
When Ljungberg was asked to comment he said there isn’t exactly dress code for managers in the Premier League.
What Happend To Arsenal Against Southampton
North London giants Arsenal can’t seem to buy a win after they played out a draw during the Premier League game with Southampton.
The Gunners could have lost the game against the Saints but they were able to salvage a 2-2 draw to take their winless run to six games in all competitions either side of the November international break.
Arsenal have not won a game since they beat Vitoria Guimares 3-2 at home on Matchday 3 of the Europa League.
Summer signing Nicholas Pepe scored twice in the last ten minutes to give Arsenal the win over their Portuguese opponents.
Since the Vitoria Guimares game, Arsenal have played four Premier League matches, one Carabao Cup game and one Europa League game without recording a victory.
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Arsenal started the run with a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at home in the league before the 5-5 draw away at Liverpool in the Carabao Cup fourth round.
The Gunners were knocked out of that competition via a 5-4 penalty shootout win for Liverpool.
Arsenal then played 1-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the league before a similar scoreline away to Vitoria Guimares FC of Portugal in the Europa League.
Leicester City beat Arsenal 2-0 at home in the league before the Soutampton game made it six games without victory for the Gunners.
Analyzing what Ashely Cole said about Harry Kane after Hat-trick
Ashley Cole has reacted over Harry Kane’s goals during England’s 7-0 win over Montenegro, he explains how the Tottenham captain is a natural leader.
Harry Kane, 26, who married about a year ago took reached 19 goals yesterday, with ten goals for Tottenham and nine for England – He scored a hat-trick on Thursday night when te The Three Lions played against Montenegro.
Liverpool midfielder, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Tammy Abraham, and Marcus Rashford saw England breeze through to a much-deserved victory at home.
Ashley Cole gave his verdict on Kane and his performance on Thursday night, Harry Kane now supersedes Alan Shearer, Nat Lofthouse, and Frank Lampard to become The Three Lion’s sixth-highest goal scorer of all-time.
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“I don’t want to be disrespectful and say he’s just a goalscorer,” Cole said. “He has a cleverness and brings others into play but when he’s in front of goal, he’s quality. All strikers want to score goals, he should be really happy with his contribution.”
234sport’s view – Can Harry Kane ever beat Wayne Rooney’s record of 53?
So far it Harry Kane as scored 31 goals in just 44 appearances. We believe that with the commencement of Euro 2020 next summer and the Nations League, there is every chance he will beat Wayne Rooney’srecord.
To achieve this, He injury free, avoid ankle problems that have seen him out of play in the past.
5 Positives Shoould Neymar’s Move Away From PSG To Barcelona
PSG are on the verge of offloading Neymar after his turbulent time with the Ligue 1 outfit. Clearly not satisfied with winning endless Ligue 1 titles, the Brazilian star has spent much of his time at Parc de Princes sulking – and trying his best to orchestrate a move away from the French capital.
Other than improved team spirit in the event of his departure, there are several other key reasons why Neymar is better off away from the French capital.
- Move Destroys ‘Paper Champion’ Motif
While he has hoovered up trophies in France, it is common knowledge that PSG have very little in the way of real competition. This is especially the case at home matches, with ten of PSG’s 17 home wins of last season being enough to overhaul a two-goal handicap. For anyone else, such statistics would be a great source of joy, but Neymar seems doomed to remain a victim of his own profile.
Unfairly or not, Neymar harbours a reputation as a man that can play only for the very best, and many fans believe that he does not have the character necessary to be part of a new squad-building project. While a return of 34 goals in 37 appearances for PSG ensures that he is far from a ‘passenger’, there is the ever-present feeling that PSG would still enjoy the same dominance even without his services.
While his goals-per-game rate is much improved on his Barcelona average, most neutrals are loathe to see that improvement as meaningful. Beyond Lyon and Lille, no team in France is anywhere near to PSG, who were Ligue 1 champions with weeks to spare earlier this year.
Furthermore, in terms of overall quality and pedigree in European competitions, it is clear that the gap between PSG and Lyon is also far more pronounced than it is between Barcelona and the two Madrid clubs.
- Restoration of ‘human touch’
Aside from any hitherto-unseen desire to appease his own sceptics, Neymar may well feel compelled to move for far more personal reasons, even without taking his dwindling fandom in Paris into account.
Neymar has also suffered on a personal level in France due to his own, and his team’s approach to adverse situations. While PSG are dominant at home, the club’s continental record remains a worldwide punchline, despite the hundreds of millions spent over the last five years. Along with much of the team, his performances undergo a notable dip when the going gets tough for PSG, leaving many fans to believe him incapable of being a team’s ‘point man’.
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The more emotive fan might point to a dressing room full of big personalities at the Parc Des Princes as a problem. To use a terrace phrase, Neymar wears his heart on his sleeve – even if that does occasionally boil over into theatrics – and clearly thrives on the ‘right’ type of team chemistry. This type is one that has an aura of brotherhood, which is prevalent at places like Anfield and Borussia Dortmund, but distinctly absent from PSG.
At PSG, team chemistry is borne of skill alone – and the fact that no other team is anywhere near to PSG’s quality. Yet, for a man of Neymar’s innate skill, there is the possibility of achieving results and enjoying the company of fellow players, and it is that way of living which would await him at Barcelona.
- From Greedy to Gallant
Neymar’s possible return to Barcelona would somewhat dilute his reputation as a greedy, stubborn and surly character. Yet, while he might not necessarily take a pay cut, there would certainly be a gallant connotation to his return, as a man feeling duty-bound to ease Barcelona’s upcoming ‘transitional period’, in the face of Real Madrid’s inevitable improvement.
Right now, the ‘Blaugranes’, though favoured by football betting odds to defend their title, collectively cut an aging figure. This was particularly evident when they failed to make good on their status as Champions League favourites at the semi-final stage earlier this year. Lionel Messi, Arturo Vidal and Luis Suarez are now past their prime, and once they are all gone – perhaps in as little as two years – Barcelona are going to need more in the way of wise heads to get the club through what will be a tough transitional period.
Luckily, Neymar and (potential) teammate Antoine Griezmann would still be at optimum age by the time the likes of Suarez finally call it a day at the zenith of European football, and as a front pairing, they could be utterly lethal. In turn, Neymar would redeem himself in the eyes of the Barcelona faithful, and show that he truly cares for the club, having merely made a very human error in joining PSG.
- Real Madrid Link a Gauge for Improvement
Real Madrid make just as much of a case for Neymar’s signature though, and if the man himself wants to show that he has in fact improved since joining PSG, this would be the club of choice.
To say there was room for improvement at the Bernabeu at the beginning of summer would be an understatement. As far as the ‘Galacticos’ are concerned, a third-place finish – below city rivals Atletico – is beneath contempt, and the club has reacted accordingly, most notably snatching Eden Hazard from Chelsea in a bid to restore the attacking setup’s once-unplayable nature.
Playing alongside Hazard, Neymar could not fail to help Real Madrid drastically reduce – if not overturn – the 19-point deficit behind Barcelona with which they ended 2018/19. Furthermore, with Gareth Bale resisting a move to China recently, and vowing only to move if a top European club courts him, the for-now hypothetical sight of Neymar and Bale on opposite flanks is a potential show-stopper.
Regardless of skill, however, it is never easy to overturn a 19-point deficit inside a mere year. Thus, if he accounted for a majority of that deficit, then his reputation as a proper champion would improve drastically. For now, however, the question of whether or not he has improved during his time at PSG remains purely a matter of opinion.
- Looking ahead to 2022
If nothing else, a move for Neymar would show that he is still a sellable asset as a man approaching his late 20s. Right now, it is not hard to imagine Neymar five years from now, very much on the wrong side of 30, drenched in Ligue 1 trophies, but without any further Champions League winners medal and still no World Cup winners’ medal.
Given that domestic action cannot ever hope to prepare PSG for the nature of the Champions League, this scenario is a realistic one if Neymar fails to take the initiative within the next fortnight. In turn, the sense of stagnation at PSG could only affect his international career for the worse, and act as a bar to World Cup glory in 2022.
That edition will, of course, mark the twentieth anniversary of Brazil’s last win in the grand competition. He may be too old for an appearance at United 2026, and so, if Neymar wants to be seen as equal to legends such as Pele and Ronaldinho, he will return to La Liga long before the end of August.
Only God (or Kylian Mbappe) can save him if he doesn’t…
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