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This is OTV and this Liverpool team are going to close to a league title. Fair enough. That's a great achievement. But that man United team for an all time great because they weren't playing very well early in the season. Does everything have to happen in the same period of time, though? You cannot have those elements of that team in the Champions League. That's got to be the time you see this year. But but not a they're to equal Manchester United travel season.


They have to win at least two Champions League in the league. And you could say that by not winning a cup, if they don't want to go, then they're not it's not as good a season. I was going to say we want to travel. Did you want to travel? No. TBA Ireland's only sports breakfast show weekdays from seven thirty a.m. only on OTV Sports Radio Live 24/7 on the go load up the OTV podcast network with Virgin Media.


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How are you doing. On. On. Yeah, good. I can't believe the football season's finished already. You know, it's a bummer.


Well, it's about to begin again and we're like five minutes away from the kickoff of the new season.


Come on.


I want to just do a quick recap there for anybody who's just joined us. Kenny Cunningham was saying that Neymar went into a shadow in the second half when his team were looking for a bit of inspiration. His chin went down. His body language is bad. There was no spark there. It feels like there's been a bit of a referendum on Neymar over the last week and he had a surge in the populist vote. But last night, the hanging chads went the wrong way and he lost.


Yeah. Far be it for me to disagree with Kanye, who's a good judge. I also came in right at the end of the interview. My memory goes to funny how you interpret that. What, he didn't play a five star. I will lift my team rule fine, that's for sure. I thought the Biomet were very smart about how they shared around the kicking of and the knock came over. I think he got moderate protection from the Italian referee.


But there's no doubt by a minute, without being thuggish, not saying not made pretty sure that he got a journey in the back or just gentle fouls to knock him over. The majority of which were an bookable fouls somewhere. And he kept getting that.


And it was we won't allow you to be a special player without you overcoming are bullying and acting as a perfectly standard technique in football. I also think that Neymar at one stage looked as if it was going to inspire them a little, but there's a lovely little move to him. And Bapi had ended up with Neymar in the box and he couldn't make a proper impact there.


He wasn't a star of the show. It will never go down as the losing side, as you know the name or a final issue of one point made. But whether circumstance what I heard can he say there was that he kind of flopped his audition? OK, I'm just going to hold on to my view, which was that Balme had a big part in how little Neymar was able to damage the final and also the one get. One thing that I think we don't do on your show is is make gigantic conclusions of one game.


And I think it would be consistent that certainly I know I've argued on the show, and I'm certain you've you've failed to point out that there are times when a guy of that age in his late 20s needs to have turbochargers in really big matches, unlike the, you know, a world apart from the several months that the French all spent without any action, a world apart from many of the games he plays in League one.


And if you live brilliantly and if you're actually focused on being the best you can be, then last night maybe you do dance away from tackles. Maybe you do produce a moment of genius in the ultra appropriate game. And I don't believe that Neymar without being another slob, I don't believe that Neymar has dedicated every waking hour to being ready for a Champion's League final year by minute. He's a guy who has always had a complex, always thought I'm so alive and so gymnastic and so quick and so inventive that you can't catch me.


And that's several different players that I think in fairness to kind of he was kind of talking longer term that had been praise being heaped on Neymar for the last week about how he's much more mature character and he's ready to lead this team. And ultimately, actually, it hasn't quite reached that standard. He's not at Messi and Ronaldo standard. And you kind of look back and is he is he at the down standard? I'm not sure if he liked it.


It is Wayne Rooney in some ways, and that is is absolutely mesmeric talent that emerges as a teenager and never quite, despite a brilliant career, never quite lived up to what he could have been.


Yeah, hold on a second thought, because I think Wayne Rooney will score from the top scorer for England, played in a couple of Champion's League finals. I would detect comparison to. And now I'm reassured because I generally agree with Kenny's ideals and his and the way he formulates his arguments. And I think that I hadn't heard this. This wave of Neymar is now a leader and a grown up, but I don't think he is. And and, you know, has disappointed me an awful lot that although he hasn't wasted his talent, he hasn't maxed out.


And we've seen it before in leading footballers.


There does seem to be you know, I don't want to be too generalized, but I was going to say we've seen in some Brazilian post, but we've seen Adriano. We saw it with Ronaldinho. Now Neymar, there are probably others. Garrincha probably wouldn't have been quite the force that he was given. His occasional drink in his era had been as demanding physically as this one athletically is about.


Say, all I would point out is that Neymar has been in a place where his his tendency to think that he knows best is tendency to think that he's so talented, so quick that somewhere like 90, 85 or 90 percent effort and behavior and concentration will be enough for him and and it hasn't. So in terms of across a career till now, I think that there is there is an accusation of underachieving, but I think it's a three way deal with Neymar.


He is an extraordinary footballer. He has shown us phenomenal things. He deserves to be held up and pointed to us as a rarity in football, a kind of talent. We see very little in the third part of the of the jigsaw that there is, is that he gets bullied a lot.


And I've got some sympathy for referees. And unless you wrap them in cotton wool because he he's very, very brave. And when he takes the ball and what he wants to do with the ball and he's very, very slight. So unless you you know, the referee wanders around with his arm around a player all game, he's going to get booed around like he did last night on the Wayne Rooney thing.


And it's something Wayne Rooney said yesterday. He in the Sunday Times column said that Neymar deserves plaudits for the amount of times he gets tackled as a footballer. And I will about Wayne Rooney's experience here as a footballer. It is possible to pass the ball away. It is possible to get the ball away from your feet and still succeed. But Neymar knows that there is benefits to be had from drawing those challenges from going down, not from going down, but from being challenged higher from the aggression that is targeted towards.


And so I think he deserves a bit of credit on that front. But also one of the points that can be made is that this is sort of a self-made thing from Neymar Graham, that he decided he jumped ship almost from the competitive aspect of Barcelona and going to Paris and Germany was indicative of the mentality of Neymar, which I'm not sure I go along with. Like, if I want to chill out and put my feet up for the rest of my career, I want to stay at Barcelona.


I want to have Messi to rely on Barcelona is not a bad city to go out and party. And I'm sure Paris is great as well. But I'm not sure. Does that actually equate it to Paris? And Germany actually really sum up the idea that he wanted an easier ride in life. Yeah, wouldn't have been my first phrase, that interpreter, I have no question whatsoever, the names are I've only met and interviewed him twice. But one of the things that helped me fill in the picture is that speaking to the players at Barcelona, he's held in gigantic regard, higher regard as a person than I would have expected and as highly as a footballer as you might have expected.


And my interpretation when he went to Paris Saint-Germain was that even if this was said from the start, it has been said since it doesn't make it less true that he genuinely wanted to go to a team where his brilliance would be supported by the buying of brilliant but also appropriate footballers, whereby he would be in the new vanguard of European football.


He would win a Champions League or Champions Leagues, and he would win the ball and are now into that Borg and came extraordinary wealth, which I'm not entirely convinced financial fair players, even though it's worth recalling that PSG were absolved.


And when we addressed Neymar from from a distance and trying some things up, we have to remember that he's largely advised, not uniquely advised, but largely advised by a father who has been too near to him, who likes the nightlife too much and who encourages his where.


We heard that before in Hollywood, for example, a doting parent who says their son or daughter. Yeah, everything you think is right. Everything you say is gold or your decisions leave the Lilliputians standing, staring up your greatness. That's a little.


But unfortunately, the type of relationship he's got with his father and therefore, I didn't think he made a good decision going to the league. One, it not Tobiason Jamen Percy, but to Ligue one. I thought it was a poor decision.


And yet I think that you can defend and I would draw a parallel. He has been there have been moments in the play of Cavani and Neymar and Bapi or DiMaria and Zimbabwe and Neymar where it's been beguiling, where it's been fantastic what you'd pay to watch, where occasionally it's jaw dropping. And they lost last night and I think they lost to the team that slightly deserved to win. But my eyes tell me that. And I thought it was a high quality final in terms of quality of technique and quality of idea and quality of tactics.


I thought in athletic terms, I couldn't understand where PSG got such energy for such harassment of Bayern to make it so difficult to play. But in the last twenty, twenty five minutes I counted four, maybe five, but certainly four occasions in Paris and German were breaking on the counterattack. Bayern Munich, either Paris and German didn't find the slip pass or by minute make it made an extraordinary interception or tackle otherwise. PSG, we're going to be two or three on one against NOIA.


That's what was prevented. Now, if one or two of those go in and say Neymar makes scores in the late part of the game, just like when he played Barcelona by a minute and was part of a three goal demolition. And thirteen minutes back when Barcelona treble in 2015, we wouldn't wipe out all his floor decisions. We wouldn't wake up this feeling that there's been more that he should have given if he'd concentrate in his career. But we would be talking about him differently.


And I think that football and his decision to go to Paris, Dangerman, these are games of tiny details.


His it was within his own grasp to make his move to Paris and seem more laudable, but logical, more praiseworthy.


But he was within his grasp. And last night I thought that they were millimeters away four times from either winning it or taking it an extra time.


They didn't tough, tough day, but boy by minute were were holding on in those last twenty minutes. And Graeme, what's the latest situation with regards to the AMC, all sorts of different reports coming out from Kuman calling and saying, you're the man I absolutely want you message on? I'm not sure.


I don't care to be honest with you for the moment, because they're still on holidays and whatever message thinks of come at the moment.


I want as a reporter, I want it to become clear what the whether the two men can co-exist can mutually inspire one another once they're at work together. That's what will matter to me. Secondly, the overarching importance is to the club.


And last time we were on here and I talked to said that a year of contract left, OK, labiaplasty, 700 million, let's forget that euros.


But let's admit that Barcelona are at this stage completely committed to saying to any club that wants to make a mess, you're staying for a year. If you don't if you're not happy, then in a year's time you're free to do what you want.


Less than a year now and in January, you can sign for somebody and they're at liberty to charge 200 million euros, 300 million euros if they want for a player reserve contract next June.


So the fact is right now, he doesn't have a means of escape, doesn't matter who wants and where he wants to go. Now, if we go on to speculate, how many are he and Kuman going to get on? I think that's a real tightrope situation. Kuman has surprised me by the number of things he said and done correctly and not just toeing the line. He said things that will resonate with fans, senior players, player analysts. Kuman has been pretty shrewd so far.


Now, his his personnel handling has been one of his most difficult aspects, I think, with with senior star players. So I'm not predicting necessarily that it's going to be all fine and dandy between the superstar and the new coach. But at the moment, they aren't working together on a daily basis. And I think that will be rather than just flipping a coin in the air and saying it's going to go like this. It's going to go like that.


That will be the proof for Messi. You know, what does he got to be like on a daily basis when they speak repeatedly?


Will it be hostile? Will will Messi, which I find unbelievable, but human nature being what it's like and football, it's like you can't rule out Messi downed tools and go in a sulk or a semi strike until he gets to leave. That would that would utterly shock me, really genuinely would knock me over. But strange things happen in our game. So for the moment, the key thing is Busson are saying, you know, hands off, unless you you pony up to 300, 400 million grand.


One last point. That's what I put you on the back of last night in the back of what we've seen over the last few weeks and the current global situation. It does feel that Bayern Munich, that German football in general is in a really good place going forward, that they have a financial model that is sustainable, that is certainly more sustainable than the Premier League model. They've obviously got a bloody good team leading the front in the way in via Munich, which would always point to future success.


Is there a re-evaluation of the powers in Europe at the moment in terms of the strongest leagues, in terms of how we're looking at who's going to who might dominate European football for the next level?


Well, you might have been daft enough. Are generous enough to ask me. I'd say resoundingly. No, I don't see what you've seen. I think that I watched the Dortmund side, who I think are, you know, are certainly part of the top three clubs in the Bundesliga and a relatively pale busson.


I dealt with them very easily in the group stages.


I watched much more of the Bundesliga after their restart than I've been able to do and concentrating on La Liga. And without question, I agree with you that they're the the same type of hurried athletic counterattacking.


There is a there's a smattering of extremely talented players that I very much hope don't follow. For example, it would it would be much better for Bundesliga essential state at least another year or more. If Havert didn't leave, that would be extremely useful and pass those numbers across four or five teams in the Bundesliga.


But if I'm honest, I've got no question whatsoever that right now, if you look at the top four or five and how English football's elite teams are refreshing what they showed post restart, I don't have any doubt whatsoever that the the elite competition at the top of the Premier League makes that the best elite competition in Europe.


If you look down below that pound for pound, I still think it's Spain by a long way. If you take the entire. The league, the quality of the tactics that the players, the competitiveness of the lesser clubs of you, if you paired up one of the lesser clubs in Spain against a middle ranked team in the other nations, it would acquit itself well.


But I think that the.


The power, the the squads, the stories which count for me in great leagues, the competitiveness, how tough the top four is going to be, I think England just from from Spain and the Bundesliga. Well, I'd need to think hard to work if it was Italy or Bundesliga next, even though France, with the way that Leone and Paris and Germany performed, deserve plaudits.


But the no, the Bundesliga had no Bayern Munich. Yes. Your own and good luck to them to to retain the trophy if they can keep that squad and keep the hunger. But I saw some aging footballers there, so I think they have some issues. I thought more, you know, wandered around second half and made zero impact. And if it wasn't Thomas Muller up by a minute, it wouldn't have lasted. Is he going to continue to be an important force there, a catalytic force for attitude and for anarchy on the pitch then?


Then, yeah. Let me ask you sort of an extraordinary number. I said in a piece of work that I do that I think is a flat track, Billy. And his age, I'm not I don't consider him amongst the elite strikers. I think he gets a massive amount of chances. And I think that he's a brilliant football example of how to maximize your talent. That's serious, man. If you could take an ounce of those kidney and inject it into to Neymar, we would probably say an all conquering Brazilian.


But I don't think the Bundesliga is in the top two powerful leagues in Europe. No. Interesting stuff, as always, Graham, thanks many for taking the call this morning, OTB. Hey, this is OTB Sports Radio, the OTV podcast network with Virgin Media.


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