Football: The 5 key moments in Neymar's career thus far

  Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates their 6-1 victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match on March 8, 2017.
Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates their 6-1 victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match on March 8, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Barcelona forward Neymar looks set on a move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a world record €222 million (S$357 million), which will eclipse the current record set by Paul Pogba when he moved to Manchester United from Juventus for £89 million (S$160 million).

The 25-year-old has 105 goals and 80 assists in 186 games for Barca, with a release clause in his contract set at €222 million which PSG are willing to activate this summer.

The Straits Times takes a closer look at five notable events of Brazilian star's career thus far, prior to his imminent world-record transfer.

1. The transfer from Santos

Neymar moved to the Blaugrana in the summer of 2013 for a then reported fee of €57 million. However, not all the money from the transfer went to the club, with money going to the player's father, the public prosecutor's office and the State Attorney's Office.

Add-ons were part of the deal as well, and with Neymar having been nominated in the top three for the 2015 Ballon d'Or, even more money was paid to Santos.

The entire transfer added up to over €100 million for Barcelona.


The entire transfer added up to over €100 million for Barcelona. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FC BARCELONA

2. The 2014 World Cup


Neymar scored four goals and laid on one assist in five matches before he fractured a vertebra in his spine when kneed in the back by Juan Zuniga in the quarter-finals against Columbia. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NEYMAR JR.

Played out in his football-crazy country, Neymar was carrying the expectations of a nation on his shoulders into the competition.

 

The then 22-year-old was playing incredible football, scoring four goals and laying on one assist in five matches before he fractured a vertebra in his spine when kneed in the back by Juan Zuniga in the quarter-finals against Columbia.

A Neymar-less Brazil advanced to the semi-finals only to be humiliated by Germany 7-1 on home soil.

3. The creation of the "MSN"


Barcelona players Luis Suarez (left), Lionel Messi (centre) and Neymar (right) take part in a training session at Barry University in Miami, Florida, on July 27, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

After a slow start to life in Spain during the 2013-14 season - where he scored 15 and assisted 15 in 41 games for Barcelona - the arrival of Luis Suarez alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi the following season helped create Barcelona's feared "MSN" attack, where Neymar's sophomore season included a much improved 39 goals along with 11 assists in 51 games.

He also won the treble by winning the Champions League, the Spanish LaLiga title and the Copa del Rey.

The trio scored 122 goals and provided 55 assists in 151 appearances that season.

4. Redemption in Rio


Neymar bites his medal on the podium during the medal presentation following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's football gold medal match between Brazil and Germany at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Aug 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Despite it not being the World Cup, Neymar was adamant about winning the 2016 Olympics on home soil.

He chose to be part of the Olympic squad, forfeiting to play in the Copa America in a bid to rectify the heartache of 2014.

They drew Germany in the final, where critics said the demons of their 7-1 defeat were out to get them.

The match finished 1-1 at full time and it went all the way to penalties.

Neymar stepped up to fire home the winning penalty, delivering Brazil their first Olympic football gold in front of the home crowd.

Neymar has 52 goals in 77 caps for Brazil to date.

5. The miracle against PSG


Neymar kisses the ball as he celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. PHOTO: AFP

In the round-of-16 stage in last season's Champions League, Barcelona had lost 4-0 to PSG in the first leg in France.

No team had ever come back from a four-goal deficit,and Barca looked set to exit the tournament, needing three goals after the 88th minute to advance.

Up stepped Neymar to fire home a free-kick in the 88th minute, giving the Catalans a glimmer of hope.

He then tucked away a penalty in the first minute of added time, levelling the score on aggregate.

Sergi Roberto capped the historic comeback in the fourth minute of added time, but the tie was saved down to Neymar's man-of-the-match display at Camp Nou.