Over the last two years a number of Europe's biggest clubs have been chasing the signature of Brazilian youngster Neymar, but it was La Liga giants Barcelona who signed the winger for a whopping £49m.
Now the burning questions are: what can the new man bring to the side and can he ease some of the pressure on star man Lionel Messi?
The skilful 21-year-old will have no problem fitting into Barcelona’s style of play with his quick feet and burst of pace, and Barca could boast a deadly attacking trio of Neymar, Messi and Pedro/Cristian Tello which will test any defence in the world.
Yet it is no secret that the Catalans have been criticised for relying too much on the Argentinian. A great example of this came in the Champions League semi-final where Barca were humiliated at the hands of the new European champions Bayern Munich.
Messi played in the first leg although he clearly wasn’t 100 per cent fit, and he couldn’t make it for the second tie where he looked on helplessly from the bench as his side crashed out 7-0 on aggregate.
The upcoming campaign will be an important one for the Spanish champions as they will have to defend their title against a determined, under-new-management Real Madrid, who will most certainly improve on last season’s lacklustre term, as well as trying to claim their title as the continent's top team which has clearly now become the property of the men from Bavaria.
If Barca wish to challenge on all fronts the squad will have to be prepared and try not to rely too much on their talisman. Messi, while continuing to overcome all challenges he has faced in La Liga, has started to struggle in the Champions League where some of Europe's big clubs appear to have got his measure. Neymar, therefore, could be vitally important in this role and must be prepared to provide an alternative source of goals to support the team.
Neymar’s signing coincides with what could be the beginning of a new era at Barcelona. With Xavi, Carlos Puyol and others not getting any younger, and with David Villa and Victor Valdes possibly on their way out, a resurgence of youth has swept across the side with some fantastic players coming through the ranks having learned their skills on the proven training grounds of La Masia.
Neymar is a great addition to an already exciting side, one of the best in Europe. Yet being 'one of the best' is hardly considered good enough for a Barca club and supporters who are accustomed to being at the top of the tree.
Regular dominant performances in Brazil are one thing but time will tell whether the big-money new boy can perform in a top European league. And his impact could well have a major influence on Barca's hopes of reclaiming their place at the pinnacle of the continent's football tree.
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