The Brazilian was ordered to repay his former club € 6.7m, but the case will likely continue, as will his obsession with them.
When Ander Herrera and his partner Isabel Collado arrived at Neymar’s 28th birthday party in a luxurious studio in Paris on February 2, they were surprised to learn that the upper floor had been assigned to couples and the lower one to singles.
“Of course, my wife wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom or go downstairs [to the bottom floor]! “joked the Spanish in an interview with La Resistencia.
“The truth is that when Neymar organizes something, he does it for fun.”
Essentially, Neymar generally does what he feels.
When he felt he needed to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow to win the Ballon d’Or, he made the bold decision to leave Barcelona in 2017.
And if you feel like going back to Camp Nou, you will.
Friday’s news that he will have to pay his former club € 6.7 million (£ 6.1 million / $ 7.5 million) will not change anything about it.
Neymar can appeal the ruling issued by the Social Court 15 in Barcelona and that would not be a surprise, since it was he who instigated the legal proceedings, believing that Blaugrana owed him 43.6 million euros (£ 39 million / $ 49 million ) in unpaid bonds.
So this case is not over yet. But it is also not the longest transfer saga in modern history.
If anyone thinks that a bitter court battle means Neymar’s potential Camp Nou return is now dead in the water, they really haven’t fully understood the extent of the player’s dysfunctional relationship with Barça.
Just because they are divorced doesn’t mean they won’t be together again. Theirs is a fatal attraction, a harmful and toxic love story that should have been a couple in heaven, but instead resembles marriage from hell.
Maybe he was doomed from the start. Neymar’s arrival generated colossal excitement among fans, but caused chaos at the boardroom level. Sandro Rosell even stepped down as club president in January 2014 due to an investigation into the transfer of the Santos forward.
On the field, Neymar thrived, going on to form one of the greatest attacking wins in football history with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, with the three South Americans shooting Barça a triple in 2015.
They are still great friends and would love to get together. In fact, Barça’s failed attempt to re-sign Neymar last summer is one of the key factors in the colossal division that now exists between Messi and current President Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Many fans would also welcome Neymar. In fact, before the defeat of the League last August at Athletic Club, the fans gathered in front of the Barça team hotel in Bilbao and when Bartomeu arrived, the crowd shouted: “Neymar! Neymar! Neymar! “
This was a remarkable show of support for a player who left Barça a year after signing a new contract, and then made matters worse by taking legal action against the club.
Neymar attracts trouble. He always has. As Johan Cruyff said in 2015: “Neymar is always at the center of the storm for things outside of football.”
But Bartomeu, like many Barça fans, remains inexplicably attracted to the Brazilian.
The sporty appeal is obvious, of course. Neymar remains an extraordinarily talented footballer, a man blessed with possibly greater natural ability than even the great Messi.
“Watching Neymar week after week,” remembers Spanish soccer writer Andy West objective, “When he was at his best in Barcelona, he could do things that Messi couldn’t do.
“But Neymar enjoys other things too much. He doesn’t have that same ruthless commitment to his career as Messi.
“In any case, his soccer career is a vehicle for his commercial career. Therefore, he has not been able to maintain his brilliance in the same way. “
However, Messi would like to return to Barça. Countless others would too. They remember the joy that Neymar brought them on the field, not the controversy it sparked.
Barça cannot afford it, of course. But this really isn’t about money, it’s about emotions.
Barça were injured when Neymar left them. They have never overcome it. On the other hand, neither did he. As underlined the entire court case.
When he secured his world record move to PSG, he could have moved on. Instead, he went looking for bonds tied to a contract that he had essentially just broken.
However, during subsequent legal action, Neymar never stopped flirting with a return to Camp Nou.
When asked about his favorite memory in football last year, he admitted that it was Barcelona’s remarkable ‘Comeback’ against PSG in 2017: “I have never felt anything like this.”
Ironically, that night played a role in his eventual departure, as Neymar was known to be pained by the fact that Messi’s images dominated the front pages of the newspapers the next day even though he had been the catalyst for the return.
And so, he finally left, less than six months after that epic night at Camp Nou, believing he would be better off on his own.
It hasn’t worked that way, of course. He has been affected by injuries since joining PSG and has yet to come close to winning the Ballon d’Or.
Like Barça, he has not lifted the Champions League since 2015. Neymar has often insisted that he is happy with PSG, while Bartomeu even claimed that the replacement for Selecao star Ousmane Dembele was a better player. .
They both sound like former partners desperately trying to distinguish that they won the breakup. The reality is that Neymar has missed Barcelona as much as they have missed him.
The court case simply represents a twisted expression of a lasting obsession with one another.
So the drama is likely to continue. And it probably won’t stop until Neymar and Barça meet, for better or for worse.