In the grotty, grey streets of south Croydon sits a grotty, green shop misleadingly named ‘Alladins Cave’. It was home to perhaps the most embarrassing time of my childhood when, having been told I wasn’t going to be bought a toy gun, I proceeded to strop and rant and rave; fists and feet pounding the floor; the whole works, tears et al.
Despite the best efforts of both my mother and grandmother, nothing could snap me out of this fit of tortuous, childish unhappiness. Only the gun – the fated, unattainable gun – would make me happy. It’s a one-off moment that still haunts me to this day, but I’m sure at some point every last one of us has experienced our own tantrum fuelled toys-out-the-pram style strop.
Neymar Jr, however, isn’t four years old and demanding a plastic gun to cheer up the harrowing blandness of suburban Croydon. He’s 26, a multi-millionaire, and living in one of Europe’s greatest cities.
Nevertheless, he appears to be experiencing his own toy gun moment as we speak. Only the Ballon d’Or – the fated, unattainable Ballon d’Or – will make him happy. Or will it? That’s what we tend to assume, but really will anything ever make the dazzling Brazilian happy again?
Since his €222m move to humiliate the farmers and plumbers of Ligue 1, Neymar has been one truly unhappy bunny. And now he appears set to leave PSG in favour of a bigger, better, higher paying challenge.
He’s throwing a strop.
Just what is it that the man wants from life? He has the money. He has the skill. He has the success and he has the seemingly incestuous relationship with his sister. Not that the latter is particularly desirable, of course.
Neymar is a celebrity, he’s a millionaire, he is, to some, a god among men. He wants more. This week, following talks with PSG’s president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the forward has demanded a new salary of €1.13m a week.
Let that sink in. That’s 4,000,000 Freddos a week. That’s bloody ridiculous.
It would have been at least 5,500,000 a few years back. The lad is already on over €700,000 weekly and now feels it right to bump that up further. Rumour has it the heating bill has been a tight squeeze to pay off on such pitiful wages.
But let’s assume that Neymar does get his new pay-rise; will he be happy then? The bloke is more mercurial than your girlfriend when choosing what to eat and so last week saw some shameful, rash decisions made in the pursuit of happiness.
Perhaps it’s the hair, he thought, that gets me feeling down. Time to channel the inner old skool Sean Paul, then.
Sadly, that dodgy barnet won’t succeed in raising the spirits. Try something else.
What better way is there to achieve happiness and zen when wheelchair-bound than undermining the hefty genius of Stephen Hawking shortly after his passing?
If the money doesn’t put a smile on your smooth, tanned face to reveal those porcelain pearly whites then that definitely will. When big moves don’t work out quite as expected, finances get tight and injury becomes an issue, making a colossal twat out of yourself on social media is usually the perfect remedy.
So Neymar must be happy now, right?
Wrong. The grapevine appears to think a move to Real Madrid is currently in discussion. Having headed to France for a fresh, new challenge away from the dwarfing figures of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar now wants to go back to Spain to play alongside the more modest names of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modrić.
It all makes perfect sense, naturally. Sadly, it would appear that Neymar will never truly be happy. Much like a stroppy toddler, he can beat his fists against the floor and scream as much as he wants, but that unattainable toy will always keep happiness out of reach. Be it the Ballon d’Or, enough money to bankroll a small country, or questionable haircuts, nothing is making Neymar smile.
The lad is going through an existential crisis just when everything should be going smoother than ever.
Take up yoga or something, mate, find that inner tranquility. It’s either that or you’ll be stuck forever in your very own, stroppy Alladins Cave.