Neymar left Barcelona following PSG’s resolve to offset an outrageous £200m buyout clause, but fellow Brazilian footballer who also played for the Spanish club during his trophy-laden career, Ronaldo de Lima, says he understands his compatriot’s reason for leaving Camp Nou.
Image: Ronaldo de Lima and Neymar
Ronaldo, often referred to as the Real Ronaldo to distinguish him from Cristiano Ronaldo, admits Neymar’s pivotal role to PSG’s dreams and believes his freedom and exploits at the Parisian club, away from Lionel Messi’s overwhelming shadow, will someday make him a world best.
The sight of two of Brazil’s greatest players on a stage is very rare and we admit it was simply adorable to have Neymar and Ronaldo together at a football event in London.
Familiar with what it takes to play for Los Blancos, the former Galactico speculated that Neymar will most likely follow his trail: he played for Barcelona and later moved over to Real Madrid in his playing days.
“The Phenomenon” discussed Neymar’s chance of playing for former rivals Real Madrid, saying a deal could happen in the future.
“Neymar is a superb player. One of the best so far, even without a Ballon d’Or. Hopefully, he will be the best in the world in a few years, and Real Madrid need the best,” he said at the unveiling of Nike’s new Mercurial 360 boots.
Speaking further on the comparisons between their career paths, Ronaldo played down on the possibility that Neymar will reject an offer from Madrid.
“Well, a lot can happen unexpectedly in football. In my days, I didn’t plan for anything other than being at Inter for five years, but then I found myself on the other side. Madrid is a team where everyone wants to play and win,” he continued.
Despite the possibilities, Ronaldo, 41, denied having any knowledge of Madrid officials planning to swoop on Neymar so soon. The playmaker arrived Paris only last summer and is part of the club’s long-term project.
“I haven’t heard any official representative of Real Madrid say anything about Neymar,” he noted, adding that “what they need at the moment is to think about what they have.”
He admitted that this season has been tough for Los Blancos but encouraged the team to keep their faith and fight harder.
“The Champions League is a competition that they do well in and we will see how it ends, because everything changes very quickly in football,” the former Inter Milan player said.
Feeling somewhat biased to give a clear answer on the upcoming Champions League match between PSG and Real Madrid, Ronaldo said “it’s a very difficult game.”
He continued, “I am a Real Madrid ambassador and obviously I want them to win, but on the other hand I like PSG and my great friend Neymar is there, and everyone loves him.
“I don’t have split loyalties, I hope it is a great game and the best team wins.”