Real Madrid Neymar Interest 'Reactivated' Amid Cristiano Ronaldo Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) runs with the ball in front of Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg football match Real Madrid CF against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 14, 2018.   / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid are reportedly considering reigniting their interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar amid continued speculation Cristiano Ronaldo is set to leave the club for Juventus.

As David G. Medina of Marca noted, Neymar has been a long-term target for club president Florentino Perez, who may step up his efforts to sign the Brazil international  if Ronaldo moves.

"A name, just a name, seems to have the necessary strength for Real Madrid to withstand the tremendous blow it will receive when Ronaldo, their big star, leaves for Juventus—but only because that name is Neymar," Medina said.

(L-R) Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on February 14, 201
VI-Images/Getty Images

According to the report, PSG would be reluctant to sell Neymar this summer given they spent a world-record amount to sign the player from Barcelona a year ago. 

It's also suggested that a starring performance from the forward in the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup could strengthen PSG's resolve to keep Neymar around. Brazil take on Belgium on Friday evening in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Having endured a slow start to the tournament, Neymar has gradually found his groove in Russia.

Football writer Karl Matchett detailed how important the forward has been and how well he fares statistically in comparison to another star of the competition:

Karl Matchett @karlmatchett

I've watched every game and yet the disparity in numbers seems a surprise to me. Both players key tonight... Neymar #BRA vs Hazard #BEL Dribbles attempted: 35-21 Shots: 23-11 Key passes: 16-11 Ridiculous on-ball influence from Ney. Brazil need his productivity. #BRABEL https://t.co/2uxCB8gL7n

Madrid saw fit to comment on reports of their interest in the player recently. Los Blancos put out an official statement dismissing a story from TVE that an offer has been made to the Ligue 1 side for the 26-year-old.

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC noted it's not the first time the two parties have been linked:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Bit weird that Madrid reacted to strongly to last night's Spanish public TV report they had made offer for Neymar, after saying nothing when Marca, AS, Transistor, Chiringuito etc etc said pretty much same thing every day for months https://t.co/TSaFD7DWqR

If Ronaldo does move on this summer, it would leave Madrid in a difficult situation. While they have a number of fine attackers, their No. 7 is one of the world's best players and has proved decisive for many years for the club.

Even at 33, Ronaldo was a crucial part of the Madrid side last year. While he may not be as influential as someone like Neymar in general play, in terms of finding space in the box and sticking chances away, there aren't many better.

There's also a commercial element to consider when it comes to names as big as Ronaldo:

B/R Football @brfootball

It pays to be linked with Cristiano Ronaldo. 💰 https://t.co/bKsaNPT0Rp

Replacing Ronaldo would be a massive challenge for the Madrid hierarchy. Not only is he still an excellent player, but he's also a legendary figure in Los Blancos' history. Neymar is arguably the only forward who's signing would placate supporters if Real's all-time top scorer leaves.

Yet Neymar has only been at PSG for a year and missed the past three months of the previous season through injury. With that in mind, it would surely take an extraordinary offer from Madrid before the French side would consider a sale.