Madrid's failure to capture Neymar could be a blessing in disguise

Posted by Nicholas Rigg

La Liga has yet to draw its curtains on the current campaign, but newly crowned champions Barcelona have already seemingly produced an ace from the pack ahead of next season's title battle with Real Madrid.

The Spanish duo have long been battling for the signature of much sought-after Brazilian forward Neymar, of Santos, but that soap opera ground to a staggering halt this week with the player, Barcelona and Santos all confirming he would be plying his trade at the Camp Nou from next season.

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Catalonia has been the 21-year-old's expected destination for a number of months now but Madrid, in typical fashion, did not give up on the wonderkid until all paperwork with Barca was signed, sealed and delivered.

First things first -- Madridistas had long been licking their lips at the prospect of Neymar pulling on the all white of their club. He fit the bill for Madrid and for president Florentino Perez. A Galactico. Not just a superb, world-class player, but the popularity off the pitch, too. Good for the image of the club and good for profit. See Ronaldo, see Roberto Carlos, see Zinedine Zidane and see Luis Figo. One of the game's current top, top players.

Madrid, and Barca, had been linked with the player for not just a matter of months, but years. There were reports the attacker had passed a medical in preparation for a move to the Bernabeu as far back as 2011. Others, now looking more on the money, said Barca had put a down payment on the player in the same year.

His agent, as agents normally do, made all the right noises, too, saying at the time: "If he was my son, I would take him to play at Real Madrid. That is the best option to play in Europe, because the president of Real Madrid is already rich and runs the club with passion, and I cannot say the same about Barcelona's president."

Maybe -- probably -- it was all said to stir up some more interest from Catalonia, and to ramp up a bidding war. For sure, both Barcelona and Madrid were desperate to land the superstar and his move to Barca marks an impressive victory for president Sandro Rosell over Perez. A big boost going into the 2013-14 season.

But while Perez and Madrid may be licking their wounds from the defeat in the transfer market, they must now turn their attentions to make the most of the silver lining that will come from losing out. Where one opportunity closes, others, and plenty of others, open.

"He's a fantastic player, but signing him would have broken the ecosystem of the club. He would have cost us €150 million," Perez said in an interview after Neymar's move to the Camp Nou had been confirmed.

The details of the transfer are still not 100 percent clear. Taking into consideration the transfer fee was not only paid to Santos, but also to a number of other parties, reports have suggested the fee paid by Barca could be anything from £50 million to £100 million. His wages won't be cheap, either.

While you'd think if Neymar brought his form from Brazil to Europa and La Liga, and it's a big if, he'd be worth every penny, Madrid has to move on to try to turn that negative into a positive -- or plenty of positives.

A lot of money would have been paid out to secure Neymar, and Los Blancos will now be able to use that money to recruit elsewhere, in much-needed positions. While bringing the Brazilian to the Spanish capital would have been seen as a huge boost for Madrid, it also would have put paid to many of their summer targets that are already in place.

Think Gareth Bale, Isco, Edinson Cavani, Daniel Carvajal and Jesus Navas to name but a few. Think Falcao, next season, if reports suggesting he'll spend a year at Monaco before returning to Madrid the following year are to be believed.

Think Cristiano Ronaldo's future at the Bernabeu, too. His contract has been much talked about this season, but Perez is desperate to see the Portuguese remain with Madrid. "I would like Cristiano Ronaldo to be the best-paid player in the world," he said. "We're going to do everything at our hand to make him happy."

All that may not have been possible if Madrid broke the bank to sign Neymar. All the eggs would have been placed firmly into one basket. One expensive basket at that.

The club is already looking to sell players to boost the coffers ahead of a summer spending spree for the new incoming manager. Gonzalo Higuain is one player expected to depart, with Juventus leading the chase, while Madrid may also try to cash in on players such as Fabio Coentrao and Luka Modric.

So to risk everything on signing Neymar, however brilliant his talent, could be seen as bad business sense from Madrid, and with failed big-money transfers not exactly being uncommon under the Perez regime, missing out on the Brazilian may well be a blessing in disguise.

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