Barcelona fans may have been burning his jerseys even as he put pen to paper a mammoth five-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain, but Neymar has nothing but gratitude for La Blaugrana and he bid a tear-jerking farewell to a club he spent three glorious seasons with.
The 25-year-old Brazilian, who on Thursday became the world’s most expensive football of all time by virtue of his €222 million move, uploaded a series of videos showcasing his Barcelona highlights, with him speaking in the background on his Instagram profile.
The message in full:
“I prepared a text here for today.
The life of an athlete is made by challenges. Some are given to us. Others are fruits of our own decisions. To keep the light that illuminates our career, which is intense, but short.
The Barcelona was much more than a challenge, it was the dream of a child who played with those stars through the video game. I arrived at Catalonia when I was 21 years old, filled with challenges.
I can still remember my first days in the club, sharing the changing room with idols like Messi, Valdes, Xavi, Iniest, Puyol, Pique, Busquets and many others.
Waiting my turn to play in a club that’s "mes que un club”. The Barcelona is a nation that represents Catalonia.
I had the honour of playing with the best athlete I’ve ever seen in my life and I'm sure that I will never see another one like him while I’m alive. Leo Messi became my friend in and out of the pitch. It was an honour to play with you.
I made a trio with Messi and Suarez that made history. Conquered everything an athlete can conquer. Lived unforgettable moments! Lived in a city that’s more than a city, it’s a homeland. I love Barcelona and I love Catalonia.
But an athlete (me) needs challenges.
And for the second time in my life, I'll contradict my father.
Father, I understand and respect your opinion, but my decision is made and I ask you to support me as you always do.
‘So, go with God and be happy, ok son. But run! Kiss, I’m running up here with you.’
The Barcelona and Catalonia will always be in my heart, but I need new challenges.
I accepted PSG’s proposition to try new achievements and help the club to win the titles that their crowd wants. They showed me a daring career plan and I feel ready to take on this challenge.
I thank to the wonderful Blaugrana crowd and everything learned with the great athletes that I had the chance to share the dressing room (with).
Now I feel it is in my heart that it’s time to leave.
The PSG will be my home for the next years and I will work hard to honour all of the trust placed in my football.
I’m counting on the support of all of you who’ve been with me since 2009. Fans, friends, professionals who are with me and my family, who suffered a lot with some problems that took place during that period in my career. Today you deserve peace.
It’s a very hard decision, but I made it with the maturity I accumulated throughout those 25 years.
Barcelona, gracies po tot!
May God bless and protect us.”