Spanish giants Barcelona are well known for signing some of the world's biggest names. Not all however are successful. For Neymar this is his big chance to prove to the world that he has the talent to rival the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a bid to become the best player in world football.
On May 27 2013, it was confirmed that Brazilian striker Neymar had agreed to sign a five year deal with the new La Liga champions, Barcelona. It seemed only a matter of time before the 21-year-old crossed the Atlantic to join one of Europe's biggest clubs.
Despite reported interest from elite European sides such as Real Madrid and Chelsea to name but a few, Neymar felt his destiny was to spearhead the Catalan club's attack alongside one of the true greats of the modern game, of course no one other than Lionel Messi.
For the last two years, Barcelona have endured two below par seasons given their high expectations. Last season the club were eliminated by Chelsea in the Champions League semi final and also relinquished the La Liga title to rivals Real Madrid. This season was a slight improvement with the club regaining the league title but were humiliated by Bayern Munich who defeated Messi and co. 7-0 on aggregate in the semi final before going on to lift the trophy.
The lack of success could be down to the fact that current manager Tito Vilanova has been ill for much of the current campaign which no doubt disrupted the mood in the Barca camp. Many feel that a number of the club's players could be heading for the exit door, in particular David Villa and Alexis Sanchez who have failed to impress particularly during the Champions League campaign, a competition the club expects to be challenging for every year.
With Neymar on his way to the Nou Camp, it has been suggested that his destiny is to be paired with Messi up front, some critics believe the duo will form a lethal partnership up front and others feel that maybe the hype surrounding the 21 year old Brazilian international was based around the fact he was a ''big fish in a small pond'' with Santos and was the club's star player whereas he may be further down the pecking order with the Spanish champions.
Neymar will be given every chance to prove himself in Europe and will certainly benefit from the supply he receives from Xavi, Iniesta and even Fabregas should the former Arsenal captain still be at the club by the end of the close season.
Neymar's decision to join Barcelona comes just over a year before the 2014 FIFA World Cup takes place in of all places, Brazil. The pressure will be on the country's star performer to produce his best and lead the Selecao to an unprecedented sixth world title next summer. The striker made his debut for his country following the last World Cup in 2010 and has since gone on to represent Brazil on 32 occasions thus far and already has 20 international goals to his name, no doubt drew comparisons between him and former Brazil and Santos legend, Pele.
If one was to believe so much hype about one player, Neymar looks set to have a magnificent career but his real test starts when he steps outta onto the Nou Camp for the mighty Barcelona.
The club enjoyed a famous rise to the top under Pep Guardiola. Winning the Champions League in 2009 and 2011 as well as three La Liga titles while under his guidance. Now with the acquisition of Neymar, Barca are looking to regain their status as the best club team in world football and for the young star, it is a chance for him to prove himself to be one of the greatest Brazilians of all time alongside Pele, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Garrincha and many others.
He certainly has a long way to go but averaging more than a goal every two games for former club Santos, Neymar is more than worthy of making the step up to the big leagues, and it doesn't get much bigger than Barcelona.
Do you think Neymar will be a success at Barcelona and can he and Lionel Messi spearhead the club to Champions League glory next season?
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