Neymar - Superstar with a legacy unfulfilled? - USA Trending Blog

Neymar - Superstar with a legacy unfulfilled? - USA Trending Blog

Neymar - Superstar with a legacy unfulfilled? - USA Trending Blog

It was a move that sent shockwaves around the world of football.

Six years ago Brazil legend Neymar left Barcelona to join Paris St-Germain in a record-breaking £200m deal.

Now aged 31, the forward is on the move again, this time leaving behind European football - at least for now - and joining a number of high-profile players in opting to play in Saudi Arabia.

He will reportedly be paid 150m euros (£129m) a year at Al-Hilal - six times the amount he earned at PSG - having signed a two-year contract.

Neymar made 173 appearances for PSG, helping them win 13 trophies, including five Ligue 1 titles.

But it was to win Europe's elite prize - the Champions League - that Neymar was signed for, something he was unable to help the French giants achieve, coming closest when they reached the 2020 final.

"It hasn't worked out in the eyes of many of his compatriots. He is abandoning the battlefield by leaving top-class European football," South American football expert Tim Vickery told the BBC World Service.

"Neymar himself will not see this as anything other than an au revoir - not necessarily to Paris St-Germain, but with a view to coming back to Europe in two years' time - because at this moment it's hard to see what other option he had."

It is the latest chapter in a career of highs and lows. Here, BBC Sport charts Neymar's journey from Santos to Saudi Arabia.

Neymar started his career in his native Brazil, signing his first professional contract with Santos at 17.

He made his senior debut at the same age, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win against Oeste on 7 March 2009.

One week later he scored his first goal for Santos against Mogi Mirim and finished the season with 14 in 48 games.

Just over a year after making his professional debut, the teenage Neymar was called up by Brazil.

His first game was a friendly with the USA on 10 August. It took him only 28 minutes to mark his debut with a goal, heading Andre Santos' cross beyond Tim Howard.

Neymar has scored 77 goals in 124 appearances for Brazil, but his first remains one of the favourites of his career.

Having helped Santos win the Copa Libertadores in 2011 - their first since 1963 - Neymar joined Barcelona after being linked with a string of top European clubs.

Playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in a front three that became known as 'MSN', Neymar helped the Spanish giants win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League in only his second season.

Shortly after joining Barcelona, he also helped Brazil win the Fifa Confederations Cup and was named the tournament's best player.

By now Neymar's star was shining brightly and, with Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014, he was seen by many as the player to lead his country to glory.

His image was everywhere before and during the tournament, but a nation held its breath when, in the quarter-final against Colombia, Neymar went down clutching his back after he was kneed by Juan Zuniga.