Real Madrid Transfers: Why Neymar Would Combine Brilliantly with Ronaldo
Neymar—one of the planet's most coveted young forwards—attainable to only a very few clubs in the entire world and likely to eventually end up at only one of two, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
At just 20 years of age, the Samba star has the footballing world at his feet and has achieved much in the game already. A move to Europe must beckon soon, whether before or at the culmination of the World Cup in 2014, to be held in his home country.
Should he make the move to Real Madrid, he will team up with another of the most recognisable and heralded talents in the game and a fellow Portuguese-speaking attacker in Cristiano Ronaldo.
Presently, under manager Jose Mourinho, Ronaldo operates most often from a wide left forward's role, supporting the attacking play by making runs infield and directly into the spaces usually occupied by a striker, as well as keeping width at times.
Neymar also frequents the same positions and areas of the pitch when playing in a similar role for club and country, so could they play together?
Leaving Ronaldo in the position he already plays at present, Neymar would most likely take up a role in the centre forward's place.
No room then for Gonzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema, but if Real are spending €40 million or more on a new player, you'd expect he'd take his place in the side.
Neymar is certainly not an off-the-shoulder type of striker; sure, he has that element to his game where he can look to break the offside trap and can lead the line well, but he won't do it for 90 minutes.
The Brazilian looks to move into space, drifts in the channels and involves himself routinely in the build-up phases of the game. In doing so, he would naturally leave a space in the central areas—which Cristiano Ronaldo would be more than willing to take up with his forward runs.
Watching the two interchange, left to centre, would become a thing of beauty for Real Madrid fans, as it would no doubt lead to barrels of goals for both players.
Great Players Enjoy Playing Alongside Other Greats
Neymar has repeatedly stated he is happy at his current club Santos and has no immediate desire to move, though everybody accepts eventually he will do so.
The longer he leaves it, the more questions will be asked of both his confidence and his ambition, though it is perfectly acceptable to think a boy barely out of his teenage years is not quite ready to move away from home; laudable, even, given what riches probably await him when he does transfer out of South America.
There is another facet to the move, though; as well as showcasing his own talents, Neymar will be expected to improve the group and be improved by his new team mates.
Santos are by no means a poor team, but do they really have stand out teammates for the forward to play with? Arouca perhaps, Edu Dracena maybe once upon a time...
These players are not in the class of Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar will improve because he is more consistently playing with better players—and considering how talented he already is, that is both a scary and an exhilarating thought.
Although They Share Similar Traits, They Score Different Types of Goals
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar share positions on the field: talent with the ball at their feet, a propensity to win fouls and free kicks with regularity, are goalscorers and enjoy dribbling as often as possible.
It all sounds too much to have them play well alongside each other and bring out the best in one another.
But truly, this would be a match-up that would work.
For all his goals and his dribbles, a vast number of Cristiano Ronaldo's strikes come from counter-attacking plays, one-touch finishes, runs in towards the back post to wrap up a scintillating move involving several team-mates and, of course, set pieces.
Neymar is a hugely capable presence in the penalty box, loves to finish off his runs towards the area with a shot on goal and is the type who can find space in the area and pounce on rebounds and loose balls to finish them off—a kind of hybrid between Ronaldo himself and Higuain, in terms of Real Madrid.
The two would certainly find the back of the net with incredible regularity.
Neymar Should End Up as a Central Striker
Only one of these three first-team regulars for Real Madrid might be likely to sit on the bench more often than usual if Neymar arrives at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Throw in Angel Di Maria on the right side of the attack too, but he is arguably less at risk than the others.
Neymar could play on the left, with Ronaldo taking over the free role from Mesut Ozil centrally. He'd play it in a hugely different way to the German, but there's no doubt that he would be a threat and an asset to his team if given licence to roam.
Probably the most likely scenario would be that Neymar does indeed end up playing centrally all the time, meaning Higuain sits out.
The Brazilian is a goal machine, he has terrific movement, blinding pace and technique to die for—all prized assets in any worthwhile striker.
Neymar would be neither a true No.9 nor a "false" one, but rather something in between. He'd be a fine link-up player, an excellent technician in switching roles with Ronaldo and a scorer of plenty himself from the front line, and Real Madrid would have a genuinely fearsome attack.
Not that they don't already, of course.
Slight problem. It's no secret Real Madrid's archrivals in La Liga, Barcelona, are big admirers of the Brazilian forward.
This is far from confirmed, but Neymar would arguably fit into the Barcelona style of play and presently-used formation every bit as well as he would in the Real Madrid one.
Wherever he ends up, there can be no doubt Neymar will be an expensive purchase for one team or another—and every possibility he will prove worth every single penny.