A look at Neymar's Barcelona highs and lows
By AFP | Published: 03rd August 2017 06:17 PM |
BARCELONA: Neymar's anticipated world record transfer move to Paris Saint-Germain will bring to an end an epic four-year spell at Barcelona.
A look at the 25-year-old's best and worst moments in a Barca shirt.
Champions League winner
In their first season together Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez combined to be an unstoppable force as Barca sealed only the club's second ever treble of La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey in 2014/15.
Neymar had a huge impact on Barca's Champions League run as he scored three times against PSG and Bayern Munich in the quarter and semi-finals respectively before netting in the final against Juventus to finish as joint top scorer in the competition with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
No Messi, no problem
One argument backing Neymar's decision to leave Barca on top of reportedly tripling his wages is to move out of Messi's shadow and compete to become the first Ballon d'Or winner outside of Messi and Ronaldo for a decade.
Whilst Neymar has blossomed playing alongside Messi, arguably his best spell for Barca came in a rare prolonged absence for the Argentine with knee ligament damage in the Autumn of 2015.
Neymar and Suarez stepped up to the mark with the former scoring 11 times in nine matches without Messi, capped off with a virtuoso performance as Barca thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 in their own backyard at the Santiago Bernabeu.
PSG's audacious move gains a small measure of revenge on Barca for producing the biggest Champions League comeback of all time back in March from 4-0 down after a first leg hammering in Paris to win 6-1 at the Camp Nou with Neymar at the heart of the action.
Neymar scored a stunning free-kick and from the penalty spot before teeing up Sergi Roberto for a 95th minute winner as Barca struck three times in the final seven minutes to take his tally to seven goals and three assists in six games against the French giants.
Up in court
The murky transfer which brought Neymar to Barca in the first place in 2013 has overshadowed his entire stay in Spain with two separate legal cases launched into the deal.
Barca settled the first case with the Spanish tax authorities over a 40 million euro payment made to a company owned by Neymar's family.
But another case brought by investment company DIS who feel they were cheated out of their fair share of the transfer fee as they owned 40 percent of his sports rights is still ongoing.
Neymar was called to give evidence in a preliminary hearing on the DIS case in February 2016 and will be called to testify again when the trial takes place.
By Barca's high standards, last season was a disappointing one as they missed out on the La Liga title to Madrid and, despite their PSG heroics, crashed out at the quarter-finals of the Champions League to Juventus.
Barca lost out on the title by just three points and was made to pay for a costly 2-0 defeat at Malaga in April caused in part by a loss of temper from Neymar.
His one and only red card in a Barca shirt was particularly avoidable as his first booking was for holding up play as he tied his boots, reportedly to garner attention for his sponsor Nike.