Neymar's first introduction to Barcelona supporters came way back in December 2011, when he lined up against them for Santos in the Club World Cup final. The contest was billed as a showdown between the 19-year-old and Lionel Messi, which then-Santos head coach Muricy Ramalho did his best to lean into.
"Before long he'll be the best in the world," Ramalho said at a pre-match press conference. "The two are similar, but Neymar is a bit more special. His style alternates the direction of the ball as he carries it, while Messi dribbles more in a straight line. Neymar is unpredictable. You don't find anyone in the world who does what he can with the ball."
Ramalho was left red-faced as Messi scored twice during a comprehensive 4-0 win for Barcelona that saw Neymar reduced to little more than a spectator. But the teenager, who had also been dubbed 'the next Pele', would get his chance to work alongside Messi at Camp Nou some 18 months later.
Barca paid €57 million (£51m/$65m) to sign Neymar, who had also been a target for Real Madrid, and that proved to be a bargain fee. He was electrifying throughout his time in Catalunya, and struck up an excellent partnership with Messi that helped deliver a host of major honours.
But Neymar never overtook Messi as the best player in the world, and that's what ultimately led him to accept a world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. He wanted to step out of the Argentine's shadow and put himself in a position to win his first Ballon d'Or.
Neymar failed to see the bigger picture. He already had an ego, but it became overinflated after PSG's staggering €220m (£190m/$241m) bid. Barca provided everything Neymar needed to achieve his lofty career ambitions, and he was loved by supporters. He traded all of that in for what he perceived as the fast-track route to greatness in France.
Inevitably, it hasn't worked out for Neymar at PSG. After six seasons of frustration and controversy, he is set to complete a move away from Parc des Princes - with Barca originally thought to be his preferred destination. But even if they could afford to re-sign Neymar, he didn't deserve a second chance. Instead, Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal have struck a deal for the 31-year-old, and the fact is, a move to the Middle East was the only realistic option on the table - which speaks volumes about how far he has fallen.