Under a shadow

Messi the hero… again. Was this image the catalyst for Neymar’s Barcelona exit?

In March, Barcelona achieved one of the most remarkable comebacks in Champions League history as three goals in the final seven minutes secured a sensational 6-5 aggregate victory over Paris St-Germain.

The chief inspiration on that historic night, without any doubt, was Neymar, who capped a brilliant performance by scoring the first two of those late goals before assisting Sergi Roberto’s winner with a perfectly placed chipped cross.

The following day, the high emotions of the unforgettable occasion were encapsulated by the publication of a dramatic image which quickly went viral: Lionel Messi in a Messiah-like pose, standing on the advertising boards to celebrate the victory as awestruck fans hailed his glory.

At that precise moment, Neymar decided enough was enough: he had just delivered the best performance of his career to inspire an amazing victory, and still everyone was talking about Messi.

That, at least, is an intriguing theory proposed by journalist Ramon Besa in Spanish newspaper El Pais,