Neymar, the Brazilian wonderkid who has already cemented himself as one of the world's top soccer players, announced last night that he is signing for FC Barcelona on a five-year deal. Brazilian club Santos accepted a $32 million bid from the Spanish giants for the player. It's one of the earliest bits of news in this year's summer transfer market, but no matter what happens, this deal will undoubtedly be one of the most talked about. Neymar, 21, is almost inarguably the single greatest prospect in the world right now, and the Santos striker may already be the best player Brazil has to offer. He'll be teaming up in Spain with Lionel Messi, who's the best player in the world and maybe already the best of all time.
This is obviously a game-changer for Barça. Though they won La Liga this season, Barcelona is no longer the unquestioned best team in the world as it had been for the last five years. Rivals Real Madrid, who also had a bid accepted for Neymar, have largely closed the gap between the two clubs. Other squads abroad—namely Champions League victors Bayern Munich—have already overtaken Barcelona. They're still one of the best teams in the world, but they've shown some cracks in their armor. Late this season, Messi pulled his hamstring and missed time. Many critics theorized that without the Argentine's prolific goalscoring, Barcelona were a shell of themselves, and it turned out to be true. They struggled to score goals, their defensive weaknesses were on full display, and they were annihilated by Bayern 7-0 over the two-legged Champions League semifinal.