Like two giant trees inhabiting a rarefied footballing estate, the shadows of Lionel Messi and Neymar merge into each other, no matter how hard they try to keep them unto themselves. When Neymar united with Messi in Barcelona, all nerves and doubts, the Argentine put him at ease, and together with Luis Suarez, formed one of the deadliest tridents this century.
When the shadow that Messi cast became too long, or when Neymar presumed so, he moved to PSG so that he could flourish and branch out alone. But four years later, they reunited at the Paris club, this time Neymar playing the role of the gracious host. “We are just meant to be. I haven’t spent as much time with my family, as I have with Leo,” the Brazilian had said then.
Perhaps, they are just meant to be. Messi is five years older than Neymar. He was already a great leaping to the pedestal of an all-time great when Neymar burst forth. The Brazilian was never a competitor, but the inheritor. It was how Barcelona wanted their destinies to unfold. Messi would leave in autumn for the spring of Neymar. But like fate and destiny, human ambition and quest for centre-stage, it did not pan out to Barcelona’s best-written script. However, their fates intertwined again in Paris, long shadows again cast over each other, and again struck an irresistible chemistry. (READ MORE)