Former Barcelona star offers theory on why Neymar joined PSG

Former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu believes Neymar left the La Liga giants purely to give himself the best possible chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.

The Brazilian superstar left the Nou Camp this summer in a world record €222m switch to PSG, while French defender Mathieu joined Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer.

Neymar’s move to PSG though was seen as a major surprise, with many claiming the move to Ligue 1 was quite a step down and suggesting the striker – who will earn a reported £537,000 per week after tax – was purely down to the money.

But Mathieu has his own theory about Neymar’s move and reckons the forward has his eyes on the world’s biggest individual gong.

Speaking to EFE about Neymar’s departure, he said: “No one believed at any moment that he would leave Barcelona. Football is like so.

“His decision, my opinion is that he left Barcelona because he was behind [Lionel] Messi. I think he wants to win a Ballon d’Or and at the moment he is happy in Paris because he scores goals.”