What does Neymar’s arrival in Catalonia have to do with Spurs? Well, Barcelona’s newest addition means that their archrivals Real Madrid will be expected to bring in an addition as audacious as the La Liga champions this summer and we all know who Los Blancos fans want to see arrive in the Spanish capital more than anyone else.
The Spanish championship is a battle of one-upmanship – whatever Barcelona can do, Real can do better and vice versa. The Spanish title is as much a media circus and public relations exercise as it is a football competition.
The fans of both clubs have exceedingly high expectations of their clubs – understandably that either one or the other has won the title every year for the past 9 years – in fact one of the two giants has won La Liga in 58 out of the 84 years since its foundation in 1929.
Subsequently, the rivalry is heated, to say the least – not just in the El Clasico fixtures but in the transfer market as well. Both clubs have to be seen to be out-buying the other.
Whilst Barcelona have traditionally been the less affluent of the rivals, they still manage to finance big moves for big players on a regular basis and Neymar’s signing is just the most recent.
He is, in effect, the Catalan’s announcing to the fans and the Spanish media that Barcelona are still the greatest team on the planet, especially after such an embarrassing defeat to Bayern Munich in this term’s Champions League.
Now, Real have parted ways with the unpopular figure Jose Mourinho became ultimately. His departure panders to the fans and the press in large part after he fell out with a number of high-profile players at the Bernabeu and was blamed for rifts in the Spanish national team.
Now, Real Madrid will have to bring in a marquee signing of world-conquest proportions – not only did they have a hugely disappointing season under Mourinho but they were embarrassed to come 3rd place in the league and suffer in the Champions League semifinals themselves at the hands of Borussia Dortmund.
The fans want action to be taken – they want a big name for a big price and Gareth Bale is the player, unfortunately for Spurs. Real Madrid have broken the last four world record transfer fees in a row (Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinadine Zidane, Kaka and Luis Figo). They will be prepared to do it once again to get Bale.
After the season they’ve had, Barcelona’s signing of Neymar – the most-wanted footballer in the world rat present – only make Spurs’ chances of keeping hold of the Welshman all the slimmer.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald