This summer the transfer record was shattered in the most unthinkable way possible, an increase of over £100m, as Neymar moved to PSG for an astronomical £198m. In context, the world’s most expensive player before him, Paul Pogba, moved for a rather mere £89m.
He was considered worth the investment by the Qatari backed club as he had more than distinguished himself in the biggest games in the past year to be seen as the only man to help them achieve their dreams of getting to the top of European football, lofty it may seem, but with him, they felt they had a chance. But why him?
Achieving his potential
He has long been seen as the player capable of usurping the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly on the Ballon d’Or, he placed third in the 2015 rankings, his performances more than justifying the place, he suffered a slight dip in 2016 but came into 2017 like a man inspired. He didn’t match the goal-scoring stats of Lionel Messi did, but what he did for that Barcelona team in the big games is worth mentioning because he took the team on his back when all heads were down, what only the best do.
The whole of Europe saw Neymar’s true game-winning ability and his Ballon d’Or credentials in what was the greatest comeback ever seen in Champions League history.
Barcelona had lost woefully in Paris, a 4-0 humiliation which threatened to end their decade-long run of qualifying for the quarter finals, only Neymar had emerged from that game with any form of repute as his head never dropped, and in the second leg he was the man who inspired Barca to a 6-1 win, the three goals scored in the final seven minutes read: Neymar free-kick, Neymar penalty, Neymar assist.
That has never been seen in all of footballing history, where a single man decides the fate of a game that was so obviously over, he became the man that fateful night. It’s also worth pointing out that the games he was absent were those that derailed the Catalans ill-fated title challenge, he was sorely missed in games against the relative minnows as his innate ability to carve out a goal from nothing was absent. They either drew or lost those games and when the league was decided by just three points, he might have been the difference maker.
The money man
His transfer to PSG has also seen the Parisian giants immediately become contenders for the Champions League, their 3-0 mauling of Bayern Munich has been his first crowning moment as his mazy run in the first minute meant the game was just one way from the beginning to the end, only Neymar has done that for PSG. He has had a hand in 15 goals in eight games so far, despite not being the main striker, insane numbers. His value for club and country cannot be over-estimated, he’s that kind of player.
Regardless of the fact he might not be everybody’s favourite for the game’s grandest individual price, there shouldn’t be any uproars if he’s the man crowned the world’s best.
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