One of the first and biggest transfers of this season’s transfer window came when Barcelona finally sealed the signature of Brazilian starlet Neymar, a move for Neymar to European football has been coming for years and it was just a matter of time before one of largest clubs in the world beat their competitors to the talented youngster’s signature. Neymar, if you haven’t heard of him already (seriously, where have you been? YouTube him) has been closely followed for years after impressing hugely at his previous club Santos, winning South American footballer of the year in 2011 after previously coming third in 2010, and after a very impressing display for his country leading Brazil to a very important Confederations Cup win, this could be a warm up for next year’s World Cup held in his home country.
If you know anything about Neymar his style of play has been a talking point for as long as he has been in the spotlight, his acceleration, his tricks and his amazing power (given how small he is weighing only 64kg and still being able to smash a ball as hard as he can, it’s pretty much a miracle) all have brought him fame and fortune, but how well will he settle in the Catalonian giants, and how welcome will he be amongst the rest of the team. Firstly as has been advised by Barca’s doctors and coaches, is for Neymar to put on weight, his tricks and speed were enough to make him the lead role in Brazil’s league, but settling into European football isn’t an easy task, football in Europe is a lot more physical, which given Neymar’s size, could be a problem, I can’t see him lasting two seconds against the likes of La Liga rivals centre backs Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, this will be exacerbated when the Catalonians start their European campaign in the Champions League later on this season, there’s not many easy going centre backs and with the likes of Thiago Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Mats Hummels, Giorgio Chiellini or Branislav Ivanovic awaiting him at some point in the future, something needs to be done . This may be the biggest task of all as he can’t keep his incredible speed and increase his power, at some point, something has to give.
Next is the fact that although his talent is irrefutable, the cold hard truth is, he’s second in line to Lionel Messi in Barca’s current set up, they usually play with a lone front man, either this will change of Neymar will spend a lot of time on the bench. Needless to say that with Neymar’s age and talent, he has plenty of years of success in front of him, but from my point of view although Barcelona might be one of the biggest teams in the world, it might not have been the best place for him to start his European career, maybe he’ll put his stamp on the team and they’ll be better for it, but only time will tell.
Lastly is how the team will take to him, Neymar is used to the limelight but in such a talented team there’s not much spotlight spare, (not to mention he led Brazil to a win over a Spain team almost dominated by his Barcelona teammates that ended an over 30 competitive match unbeaten streak) they might not take lightly to his showmanship and finesse, it might be a tough few years but if he proves himself as well as he did in the Confederations Cup, he should fit in just fine.