Nou start: Why Neymar has finally decided to leave Brazil for Barcelona

Editors' Picks

ANALYSIS
By Rupert Fryer

That Neymar would eventually don a Barcelona shirt was never in much doubt. His mind had long been made up. It was a case of when, rather than if.

The 21-year-old leaves Brazil with over 100 senior goals, having twice been named the continent’s best player and having starred so regularly in domestic Brazil he became the first player since Pele to be declared hors concours.

His performances had produced equally stunning results for his club, too, as he led the Peixe to three state championship titles, a Copa do Brasil and their first Copa Libertadores success in almost half a century.

Neymar was the hottest property in world football. His father revealed there were as many as six bids with the highest arriving from Chelsea, and a total package worth more than the €120 million offered by Real Madrid on Friday. Man City and Bayern Munich were also snubbed in favour of the “Sporting project” on offer in Catalunya.

Chelsea had come the closest to luring the youngster away from Brazil prior to the events of this past week, with the Blues so confident they had their man in 2010 that a plane ticket to London was booked in his name before a last minute U-Turn resulted in a contract extension at Santos.

He would become the symbol of a new era in Brazilian football. With European-style rewards on offer, thanks largely to as many as 11 sponsors assisting Santos with his lucrative salary, Neymar became the first true Brazilian wonderkid with no real financial incentive to make the move, with estimated annual earnings of €24m placing him at number 33 on the Goal Rich List.


Time to go | Neymar bade an emotional farewell to Santos against Flamengo

Barca always had the edge, however, and, two years ago, are believed to have made a down payment of €10m. Negotiations were bound to be complex. Third-party ownership has become part of daily life for Brazil’s top clubs as they continue to temporarily ease their financial woes via the short-term fix of auctioning off a few percent of their biggest assets.

Sports investment group DIS - a subsidiary of supermarket chain Sonda Group - owned 40% of Neymar’s economic rights while TEISA held 5% and Santos the remaining 55%. The €28m is said to have been shared out between them.
;
A further €30m is believed to have been paid to the player himself. Neymar will earn an additional €7m for each of the five seasons to which he committed to in Spain.

Barcelona’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich was so emphatic it raised questions over the fundamentals of a philosophy that had brought the Spanish champions’ so much success in recent years. Barca President Sandro Rosell needed to move.

So too did Neymar. He has struggled against teams who mark tightly, sacrifice a wide attacker in order to double-team and condense the space between the lines. There was a feeling he had learned all he could at home.

"The best time to leave for Europe would be before the World Cup in 2014… It would make him more mature"

- Ronaldo


“Neymar is too talented to be limited only to Brazil,” said Ronaldo last month. “The best time to leave for Europe would be before the World Cup in 2014… It would make him more mature and he would have more experience to lead [the national team]."

There was no Libertadores football to test him this season either. With their star player spending so much time on international duty, for which the domestic season doesn't break, Santos failed to qualify for the continent’s grandest club competition.

Neymar managed just 17 of his side’s 38 league games last campaign, yet still finished joint-third top goalscorer with 14. But even with their star, coach Muricy Ramalho was likely to see his side struggle once again this season as those around him continue to repatriate stars from Europe.

The jeers that have greeted Neymar in Brazil have grown louder in the past 18 months too, with a demanding public increasingly laying the blame for a below par national team at the feet of Brazil’s latest poster boy. There have also been boos heard from pockets of frustrated Santos fans.

The lure of playing with Lionel Messi played a huge role in his decision. Neymar has never been shy of voicing his opinion that the Argentine is the very best around and that to play with him would be a “dream”.

"[Messi] is the one and only, he's the king of football," the Brazilian told the press in 2011.

Now there is a young pretender to the throne. At some stage, however, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior will be hoping to be much more than that.

Follow Rupert Fryer on

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily sports updates.

Loading...

LATEST SPORTS NEWS

Most Popular

  • Larrazabal jumps into water to escape hornets Associated Press
    Larrazabal jumps into water to escape hornets

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Pablo Larrazabal couldn't believe what was coming his way. He was playing in the second round of the Malaysian Open on Friday when a swarm of hornets "three times the size of bees" began an assault.

  • Liverpool and Chelsea will drop points, says Pellegrini Reuters
    Liverpool and Chelsea will drop points, says Pellegrini

    (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is "absolutely sure" that Liverpool and Chelsea will drop points in the Premier League title run-in and he is expecting his team to return to form at home to West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Pellegrini had Samir Nasri's late strike to thank for snatching a 2-2 draw against struggling Sunderland on Wednesday, a result that left City trailing leaders Liverpool by six points.

  • Liverpool trio on shortlist for PFA player of the year Reuters
    Liverpool trio on shortlist for PFA player of the year

    By Michael Hann LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool trio Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge are on the shortlist for the English Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year award. Striking duo Suarez and Sturridge have scored 49 league goals between them this season, with Uruguay international Suarez leading the Premier League scoring charts with 29 goals for Brendan Rodgers' table-topping side. Captain Gerrard, 33, has contributed 13 league goals and 11 assists for liverpool this season with the England midfielder aiming to lift his first Premier League title. ...

  • Nadal crashes in Monte Carlo, Federer faces Djokovic AFP News
    Nadal crashes in Monte Carlo, Federer faces Djokovic

    Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal slumped to a shock Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final defeat to compatriot David Ferrer on Friday while Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic struggled into a semi-final showdown. Ferrer claimed a famous 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 win to hand the top seed only his third loss in the principality just a day after Nadal had won his 300th career claycourt match and 50th at the Monte Carlo Country Club. Meanwhile Federer, bidding to win the title for the first time, squandered his first 15 break points before finally coming good on a 16th on his way to a 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1 defeat of French ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Defending champion Djokovic was then taken to three sets by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain before the Serb second seed finally won 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on his fourth match point and more than two hours of battle.

  • Everton game not about me, says United manager Moyes Reuters
    Everton game not about me, says United manager Moyes

    (Reuters) - Manchester United manager David Moyes played down the significance of returning to his former club for the first time in Sunday's Premier League match against Everton. Moyes was in charge at Goodison Park for 11 years before joining United in July to take over from the retired Alex Ferguson. He has not enjoyed a successful start at Old Trafford, however, and United are languishing seventh in the table, nine points and two places below Everton with only a slim chance of finishing in the top four. "First of all, the game is not about me, it's about Everton and Manchester United," Moyes told a news conference on Friday.

  • Liverpool fans need to stay calm for run-in, says Suarez Reuters
    Liverpool fans need to stay calm for run-in, says Suarez

    (Reuters) - Luis Suarez has told Liverpool fans to stay calm as the Premier League club attempts to overcome the pressure of the title run-in and clinch their first championship in 24 years. The Uruguayan striker, whose 29 league goals have underpinned Liverpool's challenge, admitted he cannot bring himself to follow the climax to the season through the media. "Winning the title would be very special but we can't think about that yet." Suarez paid tribute to Brendan Rogers, who will be favourite to take the manager of the year title if Liverpool - currently two points clear of second-placed Chelsea - can win their remaining four matches, starting at Norwich City on Sunday. He believes in all of the squad and when you have that belief from your boss then it's easier to perform at your best." Suarez's strike partner, Daniel Sturridge, is available for the trip to Carrow Road but is far from certain to make the starting line-up.

1 / 17
Fantasy Football