Neymar Told He Lacked Commitment to Replace Lionel Messi at Barcelona

Neymar Told He Lacked Commitment to Replace Lionel Messi at Barcelona

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at November 10, 2023 at 4:51 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logoFBrazil logo
  • Neymar's decision to leave Barcelona in 2017 was surprising
  • He was tipped to become the next big thing but decided to join PSG
  • His former Barcelona teammate Claudio Bravo thinks he lacked the commitment to succeed Lionel Messi

Neymar's chapter in Europe is surely over after his move to Al-Hilal, but there are plenty of stories to tell about his time at Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germaion.

He was tipped to take over from Lionel Messi and Barcelona. He didn't. In fact, the Brazilian star left the club before Messi to join PSG in 2017.

His former teammate, goalkeeper Claudi Baravo, has said the winger lacked the commitment to replace Messi at the club.

Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Barcelona, PSG, Al-Hilal, Claudio Bravo
Neymar won a treble at Barcelona. Photo by Alex Caparros.
Source: Getty Images

Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 after four seasons for "something bigger, a bigger challenge." PSG paid the €222 million release clause in full, making him the most expensive player of all time, a record that still stands today, per Eurosport.

He won two La Liga titles and the 2015 treble with the Spanish giants. In the 2015/16 season, he had his best season in Europe. He scored 39 goals and provided 10 assists but never replicated the same at PSG, per Transfermarkt.

He left PSG a few months ago to join the Saudi Pro League side after six turbulent seasons in France.

Bravo on why Neymar never succeeded

According to ESPN FC, Neymar lacked the drive to succeed Messi.

"Maybe what he demands of himself is not the same. You can have a lot of talent but if your head doesn't have daily commitment, it's impossible."

It is unfair to put Neymar on the same pedestal as Messi. By the time Neymar arrived at Barcelona, the Argentine had won four straight Ballon d'Or awards. He was in the shadow of Messi and his long-time nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar came close to winning the award in 2015 and 2017, where he finished third.

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Neymar salutes Messi over Ballon d'Or success

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that the Brazilian forward congratulated Lionel Messi after he won the Ballon d'Or for the eighth time.

The Argentina and Inter Miami star was crowned the best player of 2023 at the 67th Ballon d'Or awards, beating off competition from Manchester City forward Erling Haaland and former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.