Lionel Messi is 26 years old and many consider him the best footballer in the world. Neymar, a 21 year old Brazilian prodigy, has been compared to having the abilities to surpass Messi as one of the greatest of all time. Hey don’t yell at me I didn’t say it, those words came from Pele. So what happens when you put both those players on the same team?
Neymar has left his Brazilian club Santos and signed with the star studded FC Barcelona squad. It will be Neymar’s first club season on the world’s biggest stage. The real question is can they both play together? They play different positions but at the end of the day each wants the ball to make plays and score goals. Something that Messi isn’t used to having to do, share.
Some people believe the Neymar signing was insurance in case Messi ever wanted to leave the club. Others are squawking that signing Neymar only confirms that Barcelona are going to sell Messi after this season. To both of those sentiments I say ‘calm down’. No one knows what exactly the long term plan of Barcelona is the goal is to win now. The signing of Neymar was a no brainer, he’s the type of player that just prints money with fans and marketing.
So what else is going on at Barcelona you ask? Well they let David Villa go to Atletico Madrid, Thiago left for Bayern Munich, they have a new manager and the rumors around Cesc Fabregas going to Manchester United have finally died down but are still out there. Just a ho-hum drama filled summer at Camp Nou.
Barcelona’s rivals haven’t had as big of a summer, yet. On a headline/exposure level how do you top the signing of Neymar? The answer is Real Madrid is in hot pursuit of a record signing of Gareth Bale. The chatter around Bale has been going on for weeks and weeks and he’s still a Tottenham Hotspur. We’ll see what pans out with Bale but the squad that Real does have ran through the pre-season looking very impressive. They too swapped managers when Jose Mourinho left for Chelsea, Real then got Carlo Ancelotti from Paris St. Germain to manage the club. Real had other minor exits such as Higuian going to Napoli and role players Albiol and Callejon moving on as well.
The other major theme in the La Liga this summer was the flight of the top goal scorers out of the league. That’s a lot of goals leaving Spain and I wonder what that will do to the competitiveness of the second tier teams.
- Radamel Falcao – 3rd – 28 – From Atletico Madrid to AS Monaco
- Alvaro Negredo – 4th – 25 – From Sevilla to Manchester City
- Roberto Soldado – 5th – 24 – From Valencia to Tottenham
- Gonzalo Higuain – 8th – 16 – From Real Madrid to Napoli
I’m keeping the same top 4 as last season but once again I’m picking Real Madrid over FC Barcelona but I think the differential will be extremely close. This is all based on the rosters today. Obviously with a month left in the transfer market a lot can happen that could potentially change the landscape of the league.
Season Starts: August 17th
- Real Madrid
- FC Barcelona
- Atletico Madrid
- Real Sociedad
- Elche CF
- Celta de Vigo
- Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid (Last Season: Lionel Messi 46)
- Mesut Ozil – Real Madrid (Last Season: Andres Iniesta 16)