Lionel Messi (L) of Spain's Barcelona and Neymar of Brazil's Santos shake hands after their Club World Cup final soccer match in Yokohama, south of Tokyo December 18, 2011.
(Photo : REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
After the Messi-Villa confrontation, speculation on whether the striker duo was not working out came to forefront. But this may only be the beginning of the end for the close friends.
According to ESPN, French club Paris St. Germain inquired about Brazilian superstar Neymar, but was told by Brazilian club Santos that the up and coming star was headed for Barcelona next season. If Neymar were to sign next season, it would be hard to put the 21 year old on the bench instead of utilizing his instinct and nose for the net in tandem with Messi. But that will invariably force some major roster re-fitting within the organization. Brazilian Robinho has already stated that Neymar should head to Barcelona if given the chance. But if Neymar did sign with Barca, who would be the odd man out?
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Barcelona has a wealth of young talent up top that includes Messi (25), Pedro (25), Alexis Sanchez (23), Cristian Tello (21), Isaac Cuenca (21), and 18 year old Gerard Deulofeu. David Villa (30) is currently the other main man up top.
Messi is untouchable at this point as he is the face of the team and the future captain of Barcelona. If Neymar were brought in, it would be so that Messi and Neymar could bring their talents together and make an unstoppable tandem.
Tello has shown a knack for creating chances on the wings as was evidenced in the match against Spartak Moscow. At 21 years old, there is still a great deal of growth left for him. Alexis Sanchez is also a strong playmaker that plays well on the wings and knows how to create. Pedro is a crafty player that has gelled well with the roster, but he could see his playtime diminish significantly with the introduction of Neymar into the lineup. Issac Cuenca and Gerard Deulofeu are relatively unproven but both have upside that should not be overlooked.
Villa would probably be the odd man out if Neymar were to show up next year. El Guaje is one of the best strikers in the world, but at 30 years old, his best years are likely passing him by and who knows how long that injury will continue to nag him. If Neymar comes to Barca next year, then Villa may need to start packing his bags to another club.