Neymar left Barcelona to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or

Former Barcelona teammate Jeremy Mathieu has suggested that Neymar decided to leave Camp Nou in order to improve his chances of winning the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

The Brazil international shook the footballing world earlier in August after he made a surprise switch to Paris Saint-Germain in a €222 million deal.

Messi has won the Ballon d'Or on five occasions in his career, while Neymar had not tasted any success with his best placing being a third-place finish in 2015. To make things worse, he did not even make the podium last year as the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez pushed him into fifth spot as Cristiano Ronaldo lifted the crown.

Mathieu, who is now with Sporting Lisbon, feels Neymar took the opportunity to join Paris Saint-Germain in order to better his chances of becoming the World Player of the Year. Speaking to SFR Sport, he said: "I think he left Barcelona to try to win the Ballon d'Or, because he was a little bit second to Leo Messi there. It was difficult for him there, and that's why I think he left. I think he'll have more chance of winning it in Paris than Barcelona. But it'll be up to him to score goals, win trophies and try to help Paris win the Champions League."

Neymar has made a positive beginning to his Ligue 1 career with four goals and as many assists in his opening five games. He was recently involved in an onside spat with Edinson Cavani over a penalty kick, but Mathieu feels Neymar will learn about the club's customs as the season goes along, he added: "Neymar wants to win above all. In Barcelona, he took the penalties with Leo. Perhaps he thought it worked like that in Paris too."

The 25-year-old missed Les Parisiens' 0-0 draw against Montpellier this weekend with a minor foot injury, but he is expected to feature when the club host Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night.