Barcelona supporters may not want to admit it, but the reaction from the culÃÂ© collective to the eventual, proper, grown-up signing of Neymar is similar to that in Capital City. Rather than Real Madrid fans running for the hills and writing off next season, the general sensation has been to ponder whether Neymar is more than just a haircut, will get on with Leo Messi, and calculate how much the Brazilian is costing the club.
Perhaps sensing this unease about another diminutive tricksy forward player to go with the other 17 or so in the BarÃÂ§a squad, the early part of the week saw the Catalan press in full happy-clappy mode. Mundo Deportivo informed its readers that Neymar was an antidote to Alex Song, with former BarÃÂ§a player and manager Carles Rexach opining that Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona need a player with this aura of a great superstar. The last signings have been OK, but they didnÃ¢ÂÂt have this.Ã¢ÂÂ
Rather strangely, the local legend's newsprint colleague Miguel Rico was at pains to insist club president Sandro Rosell shouldn't take the credit for the deal, due to his longstanding connections in Brazil and with Nike. Ã¢ÂÂHe wonÃ¢ÂÂt play for Rosell, but for BarÃÂ§a,Ã¢ÂÂ finger-wagged Rico.
Sport are very excited indeed and make the whole relationship between Neymar and the club rather... sticky. Ã¢ÂÂIt seems like the perfect marriage,Ã¢ÂÂ sighed Josep Maria Casanovas. Ã¢ÂÂThey wanted each other, they needed each other and they came together. BarÃÂ§a and the footballer have signed a contract thatÃ¢ÂÂs like a love story.Ã¢ÂÂ
WhatÃ¢ÂÂs more, claims Casanovas, there will not be a situation when Messi and Neymar dance around the pitch refusing to pass to each other. Ã¢ÂÂOne is the king, the other accepts his role as a prince.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Madrid press were talking about the forces of Mordor scuppering BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs deal, but there was the sense that it was a half-hearted bit of tampering. Even Florentino PÃÂ©rez admitted, in a Monday interview with radio station Cadena Ser, that the club had been interested in Neymar three years ago but spooked at an estimated cost of Ã¢ÂÂ¬150 million to put the deal together.
However, in an interesting political move that has wobbled Real Madrid watchers, AS has come out on the attack against the Madrid president with MondayÃ¢ÂÂs front page that Ã¢ÂÂKing Midas has lost his touch.Ã¢ÂÂ It was perhaps the motivation behind PÃÂ©rez complaining that Ã¢ÂÂin Barcelona, all the media help BarÃÂ§a. The media in Madrid donÃ¢ÂÂt help Real Madrid.Ã¢ÂÂ
The response from this comment has been swift from AS, with WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs editorial by Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o reporting an incident at a second team match the weekend after the Champions League exit, where boos and applause for PÃÂ©rez were heard at the game.
Ã¢ÂÂA reporter from [radio station] Onda Cero relayed this. At the end of the game, Florentino rebuked him and accused him in front of, amongst others, a reporter from AS. He accused him of lying and said he would speak to his boss,Ã¢ÂÂ the AS chief. Ã¢ÂÂFlorentino doesnÃ¢ÂÂt want criticism.Ã¢ÂÂ
But an even bigger boot was to come from the paper, with the accusation that Ã¢ÂÂ(PÃÂ©rez) inherited the best club of the 20th century, now he offers us the second best in Spain in the 21st."
With Marca following party orders and gushing about an exciting future with Zinedine Zidane as MadridÃ¢ÂÂs Sporting Director and Gareth Bale on the pitch with a Cristiano Ronaldo signed up to 2018, the direction AS have taken is a curious one with elections - if anyone stands against PÃÂ©rez - set to take place in June. Whilst NeymarÃ¢ÂÂs signing sees people prepared to watch and wait on how the new boy will fit in, the imminent arrival of the Brazilian in Barcelona has seen at least one headache beginning for the rivals of the Catalan club.
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