3 reasons why Neymar's departure was good for Barcelona
Neymar's transfer was the headline-grabbing news of the summer and took the footballing world with a surprise with the magnitude of money involved in it.
The Catalans were planning to steal Marco Veratti from PSG but instead lost their star forward to them.
The Brazilian had a release clause worth €222 million in his contract which was happily met by the billionaires owning the French club.
The 26-year-old now earns close to £600,000-a-week at the Parc des Princes.
It was said that more than monetary benefits, it was actually the image of Lionel Messi eclipsing his value at the Camp Nou, which forced him to find a club where he would be playing out of the Argentine's shadow.
However, Barcelona has dealt with the blow well. Neymar's departure was arguably a blessing in disguise for the club.
That said, here is a look at the reasons why the player's departure was good for the Spanish giants.
#3 Messi's role redefined
Barcelona's front three was left broken after Neymar's departure in the summer. The club immediately signed Ousmane Dembele who inherited the Brazilian's No.11 shirt but was not expected to fill the void so created anytime soon.
Luis Suarez, also, went misfiring and it all appeared to be going wrong under Valverde.
Messi came out as a true leader and carried that front-line all by himself. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, the player is in breathless form, this season and appears to be aging like an old wine.
Valverde has accommodated the forward in the typical No.10 role where he has the absolute license to roam anywhere on the pitch.
The previous bosses had preferred to play Messi on the wings or in a false-nine. The trio of MSN- Messi, Suarez and Neymar had always featured in a traditional front-three.
The Argentine now plays behind Suarez and constantly drops deep to pick up the ball and find a way forward with his sensational reading of the game and unmatched passing abilities.
His movement is causing more trouble to the opposing defences than ever with Chelsea being the latest victims.
Messi has scored 34 goals this season so far and provided for another 16 for his team. He has been producing some sensational through balls all season and appears to be unstoppable in the given role.
Had Neymar been there, the responsibilities would have been shared between the star players. Maybe, that could have just limited the player's role to the previous positions for yet another spell.
Moreover, with the age burden falling on him inevitably, this new role could prove to be redefining at this stage of his career.