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Neymar: Does Brazil superstar leave Paris St-Germain with a legacy unfulfilled?

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Football Journey

Neymar emerged as the most expensive footballer globally upon his transfer to PSG in 2017, causing seismic waves across the football realm. Six years ago, the Brazilian icon bid farewell to Barcelona, embarking on a groundbreaking £200 million deal with Paris St-Germain.

Now at the age of 31, the forward is embarking on a new journey, departing European football, at least temporarily, and joining a cohort of prominent players in opting to play in Saudi Arabia. His destination, Al-Hilal, will reportedly pay him a staggering 150 million euros (£129 million) annually, a sum six times larger than his earnings at PSG, all under a two-year contract.

Over his time at PSG, Neymar featured in 173 games, playing a pivotal role in securing 13 trophies, including five Ligue 1 championships. Yet, his signing was primarily centered around clinching the ultimate European prize, the Champions League, an ambition that eluded him as PSG came closest in the 2020 final.

Tim Vickery, a South American football expert, expressed that many of Neymar’s compatriots view his departure as abandoning top-tier European football. Vickery anticipates that Neymar perceives this move as more of a temporary farewell, not necessarily to PSG, but with a prospect of returning to Europe after two years, considering the limited alternatives available.

Neymar’s trajectory has been one marked by peaks and valleys. From his start at Santos to his current move to Saudi Arabia, his journey is one of notable accomplishments and challenges. Here, Sport Newes Center traces Neymar’s path from Santos to Saudi Arabia.

Demand for Neymar jerseys has already surged in Saudi Arabia.
2009 – Entrance into Senior Football at Santos

Neymar commenced his professional career in his homeland of Brazil, inking his initial senior contract with Santos at the tender age of 17. His senior debut materialized at the same age, as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 victory against Oeste on March 7, 2009. Within a week, he scored his inaugural goal for Santos against Mogi Mirim, concluding the season with 14 goals in 48 appearances.

2010 – Debut for Brazil

Just a little over a year after his professional inauguration, the youthful Neymar received a summons from Brazil’s national team. His debut occurred in a friendly match against the USA on August 10. In a mere 28 minutes, he made his mark with a goal, heading in a cross from Andre Santos. While Neymar has since amassed 77 goals in 124 outings for Brazil, his first goal remains among the cherished moments of his career.

2013 – Triumph with Barcelona and Brazil

Joined by the formidable duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar’s inclusion in the attacking triumvirate at Barcelona yielded remarkable success. Their synergy resulted in La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League victories in his second season. Concurrently, he played a pivotal role in Brazil’s conquest of the Fifa Confederations Cup, securing the tournament’s best player accolade.

2014 – Heartbreak at the Home World Cup

Neymar’s star was radiant, and with Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup, he was hailed as the catalyst for his nation’s triumph. However, a pivotal moment arrived during the quarter-final clash against Colombia, when a collision with Juan Zuniga left Neymar clutching his back. Although Brazil secured a 2-1 win, Neymar’s World Cup journey was cut short due to a fractured vertebra. Brazil’s dreams were further dashed as they suffered a resounding 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals.

2016 – Record-breaking Season and Olympic Glory

Neymar, together with Messi and Suarez, continued their lethal partnership at Barcelona, amassing an astonishing 131 goals during the 2015-16 season, a record for an attacking trio in Spanish football history. Their efforts culminated in the domestic double of La Liga and Copa del Rey. Additionally, Neymar’s journey led him to the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where he redeemed his World Cup disappointment by securing Brazil’s first men’s Olympic football gold through a shootout victory against Germany.

2017 – Transition to France

Having achieved 105 goals in 186 matches, Neymar’s departure from Barcelona to PSG for a staggering £200 million in 2017 generated global headlines. His debut against Guingamp in August featured a goal and an assist. Alongside Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, he formed a formidable attacking trio, contributing 28 goals in 30 games to PSG’s treble triumph of Ligue 1, French Cup, and League Cup. However, a fractured metatarsal curtailed his season, marking the inception of a series of injuries during his time in Paris.

2019-20 – Champions League Final and Uncertain Future

After two years with PSG, rumors of Neymar’s return to Barcelona dominated the summer of 2019. Despite an initial disagreement with PSG over pre-season training, Neymar remained in Paris. Despite injuries, he played an instrumental role in helping PSG secure Ligue 1 and reach the Champions League final for the first time, albeit falling short with a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich.

Neymar tasted both victory and injury struggles during his time at PSG.
2021-23 – Fluctuating Fortunes as the End Approaches

In 2021, Neymar reunited with former Barcelona teammate Messi, yet his performance that season was lackluster, culminating in his weakest goal return since his European transition, with 13 goals across all competitions. Nonetheless, alongside Messi and Mbappe, he seemed to recapture his form in the 2022-23 season, recording 13 goals and assists in the first five league matches. However, an ankle surgery in March curtailed his season, with a 4-3 victory against Lille, including his goal, serving as his final game for PSG.

Anticipating More Memorable Moments

Viewed as Brazil’s beacon of hope, Neymar’s ambition to lead his country to World Cup victory remains unfulfilled. His PSG tenure concluded in a manner that invites questions regarding the impact on his legacy. Despite being judged by some as a letdown due to numerous injuries, Neymar’s impressive goal tally for Brazil matches that of Pele. This achievement is a testament to his prowess cultivated over numerous years. Even as Neymar departs PSG, he carries a wealth of memorable moments. He envisions creating more highlights in Saudi Arabia, top-tier European football, and the upcoming World Cup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Football Journey

Who is Neymar and what is his football journey?

Neymar is a Brazilian football superstar known for his skills and performances on the field. His journey has taken him from Santos in Brazil to Barcelona, then to Paris St-Germain (PSG), and now to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal.

What are some of Neymar’s notable achievements?

Neymar has achieved numerous milestones, including winning domestic league titles, the Champions League with Barcelona, and an Olympic gold medal with Brazil’s national team.

Did Neymar achieve his Champions League goal with PSG?

Neymar’s move to PSG was primarily aimed at winning the Champions League, but despite coming close, he couldn’t secure the trophy during his time there.

Why did Neymar leave PSG for Saudi Arabia?

Neymar’s move to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal came after his time at PSG, signaling a change in his career path and seeking new challenges and opportunities.

How did injuries impact Neymar’s career?

Injuries have been a recurring theme in Neymar’s career, often sidelining him during crucial moments. These injuries have affected his consistency and ability to contribute fully to his teams.

What is Neymar’s legacy in football?

Neymar leaves a legacy marked by incredible skill, significant achievements, and a goal to bring World Cup success to Brazil. His journey, though accompanied by challenges, has showcased his immense talent and dedication to the sport.

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FootieLover August 16, 2023 - 1:44 pm

neymar’s story’s crazy, barcelona days were lit with messi n suarez, injuries spoiled the show, now saudi arabia adventure, still waitin’ for that world cup magic!

SoccerFan94 August 16, 2023 - 1:51 pm

man, neymar’s like a legend or somethin’, moved from brazil to barca, then to paris, now saudi arabia? wild journey, injuries hit hard tho

BallGameAddict August 17, 2023 - 9:06 am

neymar, you beauty! from santos to saudi, he’s had his share of glory n heartbreak, those injuries, ugh, but his goals, those magical moments, they’re etched in football history!

CrazyAboutSports August 17, 2023 - 11:23 am

whoa, neymar’s ups n downs, injuries can be a real bummer, hope he shines in saudi, and yeah, that champions league dream, didn’t quite catch it, but he’s still got that brazilian spark!


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