The excitement generated by the Brazilian’s arrival from Santos was comparable to the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in July 2009, with the scenes around the stadium more reminiscent of a match day than the signing of a new player.
Just after 6.30pm local time the 21-year-old, who had just signed his five-year contract in the club’s offices, appeared on the pitch to the delight of the supporters with the Barcelona anthem being played in the background.
After showing off his skills with the ball and kicking some of them into the stands, Neymar then addressed the gathered masses and, to the surprise of the public, said a few words in Catalan expressing his ‘delight to have become a Barca player’.
“This is more than just a club and I already realise that. I want to help the team and I am living a dream. I want to help Messi to carry on being the best player in the world,” he continued in his native Portuguese.
He then posed for the media before giving away balloons, while some Barca fans had a dig at eternal rivals Real Madrid by chanting “Florentino, en Madrid, no hay mar ni Neymar” – “Florentino [Perez], in Madrid, there’s no sea and no Neymar”.
Afterwards, Neymar appeared at a Press conference alongside director of football Andoni Zubizarreta and Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeo.
“I’m really happy to be fulfilling a dream. This is a great day for me and my family,” he told reporters.
“It’s one more thing God has given me in my life, getting the chance to play alongside important players who I admire like Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.
Today is the start of a new chapter in my life. I’m going to have a lot of happy times and victories.
“With the emotion of entering the Camp Nou and being greeted I found it hard not to cry. I’m living my dream.
“I’ve never worried about being the best in the world because the best is here in Lionel Messi. I’m one of the luckiest men around to be able to play alongside him. It’s an honour.
“Barca and Madrid are two great clubs and I’m happy both of them wanted me, but my heart was with Barca. It was a family decision. However, it was me that had the final word. I’ve never done anything for money. I’m not motivated by it.” he explained.
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