There is no doubt that at the end of last season, FC Barcelona was a wounded animal.
Despite claiming the La Liga title ahead of a faltering Real Madrid side, their emphatic 7-0 two-legged defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final showed their powers were diminishing.
But out of the ashes, came the phoenix in the form of Brazilian sensation Neymar, who joined early on in the summer from Sao Paolo.
Much has been made of the player, thought to be a natural talisman in Brazil's home World Cup campaign next summer.
The massive weight of expectation on the 21-year-old's shoulders would be enough to flatten anyone.
Not only that, but he is expected to excel where other greats such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa failed - performing with the great Lionel Messi playing next to you.
Many feared playing alongside the living legend would prove abrasive for a young man who is used to being the star of the show.
Far from it, Neymar has insisted that his relationship with Messi has blossomed since joining the up at the Nou Camp.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "My relationship with Messi is marvellous. “I talk to him every day and can assure you there will be no problem. He is the best player in the world – I am here to help.”
Neymar has struggled with health issues since relocating to Europe with a bout of anaemia causing him to lose weight and strength.
However, Neymar is confident that his problems are over and is ready to pile on the muscle to cope with the added physicality of the European game.
“It’s coming on well, and I’m training harder and harder every day,” he says. “I lost weight after a tonsil operation but I am putting it back on.”
“In Brazil it [the physicality] is even worse,” he shrugs. “I am used to it.”
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