Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos has bullishly claimed he will convince Barcelona star Neymar to turn his back on his current employers and join their bitter rivals.
According to AS journalist Javier Matallanas (h/t Sport), Los Blancos president Florentino Perez is set on bringing Neymar to the Spanish capital. Carlos—who spent 11 memorable years at the Santiago Bernabeu—is hoping to seal a coaching role, from which he can speed the deal along:
“I can make Neymar come [to] Real Madrid,” boasted the Brazilian on Punto Pelota (h/t Sport). “He is very young. I am sure next year he will finish even higher in the Ballon d’Or.”
Carlos was part of the Real Madrid side Luis Figo famously signed for after a controversial transfer from Barcelona.
And while the Portuguese’s switch is rightly remembered as one of the most shocking transfer deals in history, Neymar trading the red and blue strip of Barcelona for the all-white of Real would be even more surprising.
Carlos may feel as though he holds some sway. After all, as a Brazilian football icon, he’s a player who Neymar will surely have looked up to. However, this would be a hugely controversial decision to make.
In the aftermath of his move from Barca to Real, Figo had to put up with a lot of grief from the Blaugrana fans, as we can see:
Neymar, a man who seems to enjoy being in such a relaxed environment, could surely do without such hassle. It’s not as if his current employers are not up to standard either.
Indeed, playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar has helped forge one of the most memorable attacking trios in the game’s history. They helped inspire Barcelona to five of a possible six trophies available to them in 2015.
As we can see here courtesy of Sky Sports Statto, it was a year to remember for the Brazil captain, who really blossomed as a player:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Neymar is chasing his first #BallondOr award - here are his stats for 2015 https://t.co/QnV2aXVk6h2016-1-11 17:37:37
His development shows no sign of stopping either. Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones feels as though Neymar will be well in the hunt for the Ballon d’Or once again in 12 months’ time:
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That’s not to say Neymar’s development would be halted should he move to Real Madrid, just that it’s not necessary for the player to become a better footballer or to enrich his reputation.
At the moment he’s well on course to becoming the best footballer on the planet at the Camp Nou, is likely to sign a new contract with the club this year and is winning trophies on a regular basis.
Perhaps there will come a time when the Brazilian does wish to leave Barcelona, but it’d be a massive surprise if he ended up at Real Madrid.
The path from Catalonia to the capital is one that has scarcely been tread for good reason, and even someone of Carlos' gravitas would find it difficult to usher Neymar into taking such a plunge.