Once a talent expected to win the Golden Ball, now at the age of 31, Neymar chose to go to Saudi Arabia to play football for Al-Hilal.
The first time Neymar was welcomed by the Barcelona world was in December 2011, when he faced them in the World Club Cup final with Santos. The match was billed as a contest between the 19-year-old and Lionel Messi, and Santos coach at the time, Muricy Ramalho, tried to show that.
“Soon, Neymar will become the best in the world,” Ramalho said in the pre-match press conference. “The two are very similar, but Neymar is a little more special. His style changes the direction of the ball as he dribbles, while Messi dribbles more straight. Neymar is unpredictable. You don’t Can’t find anyone else in the world who can do what he does with the ball.”
Ramalho faced defeat when Messi scored twice in Barcelona’s emphatic 4-0 rout, with Neymar reduced to a mere onlooker. But the teenager, who has also been dubbed ‘the next Pele’, would get the chance to work alongside Messi at Camp Nou 18 months later.
Barca paid €57m (£51m / $65m) to sign Neymar, who was also a target for Real Madrid, and it proved to be a very reasonable fee. He was extremely impressive during his time in Catalunya and formed an excellent partnership with Messi, helping the team win many major trophies.
But Neymar didn’t see the bigger picture. He had pride, but it became too high after PSG made a record offer of €220m (£190m / $241m). Barca has given Neymar everything he needs to achieve his lofty career dreams, and he has been loved by fans. He risked all that in search of a quick route to greatness in France.
Inevitably, it didn’t work out for Neymar at PSG. After six seasons of disappointment and controversy, he is set to complete a move to another team from Parc des Princes – with Barca initially thought to be his preferred destination. But even if Barca has enough money to re-sign Neymar, he doesn’t deserve a second chance. Instead, the Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal has reached an agreement with the 31-year-old, and the reality is, that a move to the Middle East is the only realistic option on the table – this says that he has fallen very far.
Neymar played great at Barca
Neymar spent four seasons at Barca, scoring 105 goals and an impressive 76 assists in 186 appearances. He proved himself to be an excellent player in a star-studded squad and often stunned the Camp Nou crowd with his superb technical displays in the end zone.
Combined with Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar and these two friends form one-third of the best attacking three in modern football history, with ‘MSN’ leading Barca to a treble under Luis Enrique this season. 2014-15 tournament.
After watching Neymar score four goals in a 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, Luis Enrique famously said: “Defenders have only two options when facing him: foul and let him score.” table. In one word, he is truly desirable.”
A third consecutive Copa del Rey victory salvaged a rather disappointing 2016-17 season for Barca, but Neymar continued to shine on an individual level, especially when inspiring the ‘remontada’. The team’s unbelievable performance against PSG in the Champions League.
The French side won 4-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 match, but lost 1-6 at Camp Nou, with Neymar scoring a free kick and a superb penalty before assisting Sergi Roberto for the winner. Decided deep into extra time. That was the most memorable moment in Neymar’s career at Barca and at that time he deserved to be placed in the same row as Messi.
The relationship between Neymar and the Culers at Barcelona was irreversibly damaged when he left for Parc des Princes, with fans even burning the shirt bearing his name after the transfer was confirmed. Neymar brought Neymar spent 4 seasons at Barca, scoring 105 goals and 76 assists in a total of 186 appearances. He has proven himself to be an outstanding player in Barca’s star-studded squad and often wows the crowd at Camp Nou with his superb technical displays in the end zone.
The door to the Premier League is also closed
Neymar has also been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League, with Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal all rumored as to where he could go. But one by one, those doors were closed.
When United was first suggested as a potential mover for Neymar in May, Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant Rene Meulensteen warned current coach Erik Ten Hag. “I have my doubts about that because he’s obviously a high-class player but he’s also a tough guy,” he told talkSPORT.
Chelsea seems to be the team most likely to make a bid for Neymar as it was reported that co-owner Todd Boehly had direct contact with the striker last month, while new Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino, coached Neymar at PSG during the 2021-2022 season and once described him as an “easy” player to manage. However, the Argentine has made it clear that he does not want to reunite with Neymar. According to Evening Standard, Pochettino believes that Neymar is not suitable for the playing style he wants to implement at Chelsea.
There was a time when Neymar’s arrival in the Premier League was an attractive prospect. But now, all the top teams realize that he is a damaged player.