In the coming days, Neymar will end a rocky few months with some good news: a new four-year Paris Saint-Germain contract worth hundreds of millions, tying him to a place where he finally seems content.
At last, some stability for a superstar who will never escape the spotlight that started with his status as Brazil’s wonderboy and escalated when he became the world’s only £200million footballer.
Every summer since Neymar arrived in Paris, the talk has been of a move back to Spain: Barcelona or Real Madrid.
More recently, he’s lost a Champions League final with PSG and faced criticism for his off-the-field behaviour. Even this week, ahead of his 29th birthday, there has been more talk of partying in a pandemic. Neymar is adamant it won’t be happening.
But Paris, it seems, is staying as his home. Real and Barca can’t afford to buy big, but at 29 Neymar says his motivation comes from a belief he will win the Champions League at PSG. Defeat by Bayern Munich in Lisbon hasn’t dented that.
‘I’m not motivated by defeats, I’m motivated by the victories that I once conquered in my life and career,’ Neymar tells Sportsmail.
‘I know what it’s like to win a Champions League and I am sure that I will reach, once again, the final with PSG.’
Could the Premier League have been an option? Manchester City or Chelsea look the only clubs with the realistic spending power to coax Neymar away from the Parc des Princes.
But, he says, England has little draw – for a player who has complained of rough challenges in Ligue 1 – never mind the likes of Burnley and West Brom.
‘I do not get to watch a lot of the Premier League, but I have heard that there’s a lot of physical contact involved in the game… But the French league also has too much physical contact!’