I have had this piece done a few days, however there is no better time to post it than today. The day in which Neymar penned a 5 year deal with the club estimated to be worth around 57 million euros with a buyout clause of 190 million euros.
So a lot of money has been spent to get that famous Barcelona jersey over the head of Neymar so expectations are high, but what are those expectations?
Since Neymar was targeted as the next Barcelona player to be signed their have been many opinions/debates thrown around regarding whether or not Neymar would firstly fit the football style of Barcelona and whether he is overated (having not proven himself in Europe) or not.
So this brings me to my first point, people have suggested that Neymar will not fit Barcelona's Tiki Taka style of play. Suggesting that he dribbles too much, tries too many tricks and shoots a lot more than most Barcelona players, in result giving away possession more. However I have to disagree, for a while now Cules and others fans from around the world have kept saying how Barcelona do not have a "plan B" therefore why are people suggesting Neymar may not fit the style? Which leads me to my point, why complain about not having a plan B but then forever want players that fit the "plan A" style, maybe he can be the plan B (or simply be a new dimension). And that is what is vital, that we let Neymar express his natural style and footballing abilities, and if Neymar does fail in my eyes it will only be because we try make him something he is not, partly the reason I think Alexis has struggled at times, not simply because the coaching staff have generally changed the way he plays, but perhaps he in general feels inferior at times so decides to keep his play simple? So it's vital the fans get behind Neymar and the players in order to keep him happy and confident playing his natural game. Which I do think Alexis is starting to do.
It is true a player plays better if he is confident than when he is not so regardless of how good he is, Messi and ronaldo keep doing well year after year because they have all the confidence in there ability! Fernando Torres started to decrease because his dip in form was over exaggerated hence his confidence took a massive blow.
The fact is the youngster has such a bright future, and that simply has risen because of the way he plays at Santos.
Which leads me onto my next point, "Neymar hasn't proved himself in Europe" . Ok so any player than hasn't played in Europe cannot be deemed a future star, or a target of a European club? Nonsense.... Absolute nonsense.
I have watched Santos games as much as possible and yes at times the defending in general isn't close to European level, however in a technical aspect there are some very talented players out there simply seen by the likes of Paulinho last night! However another name comes to my mind, Lucas Moura. Who this year has impressed many fans around the world because of his performance with PSG both in the French league and in the Uefa Champions League. And from what I have seen and heard Neymar of the two was and is deemed the better talent. Therefore how can people suggest he shouldn't be bough because he isn't yet proven in Europe.
Recently I have also heard that Neymar hasn't been performing for Brazil of late, And I agree he hasn't been amazing, however he has been good in a team which is far from the finished article and is actually working on what tactics and players to play etc before the 2014 World Cup. Furthermore any Cule that uses this as a way to back up how they think Neymar will fail is stupid, After all the greatest player ever (our very own Lionel Messi) has sometimes struggled in his younger days in an Argentina shirt, for him to now be flourishing in the blue and white colours.
So for Neymar to be a success what does he have to do in his first season. Well in my opinion settle in and generally just keep improving and that would be a success to me.
At 21 years of age people shouldn't expect him to get 40 goals and tear defences apart in every game, infact the least amount of pressure and the more us as fans get behind him the quicker he will improve and the more likely he is to become a real world class front man.
Then looking further ahead can we really expect him to be the next Lionel Messi? The answer is No, but lets give Him the best chance possible, I firmly believe if we do he can become a household footballing Name for sure! BUT NOT MORE THAN YOU PELE .... Don't worry ! ;)
However I like to here your opinions. So the question is what would you say would be a successful first season for Neymar ?
10-15 goals ? Likewise assists ? To entertain the crowd ? To hold down a first team place ? To score past Real Madrid ?
In conclusion, like I stated earlier everyone does have different opinions, which is fine, however you have to be realistic when looking at the signing of Neymar. We have spent a lot of money however it seems like this money will be regenerated (through merchandise and sponsors etc) well infact exceeded quite quickly. In result you are simply on the big scale getting a future star of world football, at the tender age of 21, from Brazil (adding fans and perhaps adding to our already great list of Brazilian footballers) a seemingly nice guy and at that an entertaining footballer for ...... FREE! It's as simple as that.
So it would be great to here your thoughts on the signing and your expectations, and what you think Neymar has to do to have a first successful season ? And early Barcelona future !
And pas the famous manager Jock Stein of Celtic once said
“Celtic jerseys are not for second best, they don’t shrink to fit inferior players” Likewise at Barcelona! Good luck Neymar !