- 5'8" (1.75m)
- 141 lbs (64 kg)
- February 5, 1992
Every so often a young Brazilian forward of such dazzling potential emerges that comparisons are immediately made with the greatest of all, Pele.
As another graduate of the Santos academy, and a player who has made a stunning impact in his teens, it is inevitable that Neymar has become one of them. However, he has said that his style is closer to that of Garrincha, and that Romario is his hero in the Selecao shirt. The early indications are that this hugely talented forward might just have the potential to join the ranks of Brazil greats.
Though still in his formative years, Neymar has already dazzled in Brazilian domestic football and at youth level for his country, and now he is beginning to do the same for the senior side.
Since being overlooked for the 2010 World Cup by Dunga, despite pleas from Pele himself, Neymar has become the central figure for Brazil, amassing a total of 65 caps for the senior side.
A Santos player since 2003, he made his debut aged 17 and quickly shot to fame when winning the Campeonato Paulista in 2010 and being named the best player in the competition. Maintaining an impressive strike-rate, he shone alongside his stylistic soul-mate Robinho upon his loan return to the club from Manchester City, and was the subject of a 23-million-pound offer from Chelsea in August 2010, which he rejected to continue his career in Brazil.
It proved to be a wise choice as Neymar was on the scoresheet when Santos defeated Penarol in June 2011 to claim their first Copa Libertadores title since 1963. The fleet-footed forward was awarded the FIFA Puskas award for his sensational solo goal against Flamengo and followed in the footsteps of Diego Maradona, Zico and Pele by winning the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year.
With 100 goals already to his name by his 20th birthday, Neymar's next task was to transfer his club form to the international side though he failed to make an impact at the 2011 Copa America, where Brazil were defeated by Paraguay in the quarterfinals. However, he did score three goals in the London 2012 Olympics as Brazil lost out on the gold medal to Mexico in the final.
Yet, Neymar's coming of age finally arrived at the 2013 Confederations Cup when he opened the scoring with a tremendous half volley in the third minute of the opening match against Japan. This was to be Neymar's tournament as he scored four goals, including one in the 3-0 final victory over Spain.
A big money move to Barcelona transpired that summer for Brazil's golden boy and he opened his account for the club in the first leg of Barcelona's Spanish Supercopa victory over Atletico Madrid. A further 14 goals followed as Barcelona missed out on the La Liga title on the final day -- though Neymar was largely absent for their run-in as a result of injury.
All eyes were on Neymar at the start of the 2014 World Cup, and he did not disappoint in scoring four goals for Brazil. However, his tournament was cut short when he suffered a fractured vertebra in his back during Brazil's 2-0 quarterfinal victory over Colombia. With Neymar injured, Brazil suffered their worst ever World Cup defeat, a 7-1 dismantling against Germany in the semifinals.
A stronger and more determined Neymar returned from that back injury and helped lead Barcelona to a second Treble, including 22 goals during the 2014-15 La Liga campaign and the final strike for Barcelona in their 3-1 Champions League final triumph over Juventus.
Once again, all hopes for another international trophy for Brazil fell on Neymar's shoulders at the 2015 Copa America in Chile, yet Neymar failed to complete the event after being suspended for four matches due to comments made to the referee following Brazil's 1-0 group stage defeat to Colombia.
Strengths: A genius with the ball at his feet, Neymar's pace, dribbling, expert finishing and impeccable technique make him a fearsome opponent. His impressive awareness and match intelligence also mean he can operate wide or through the middle.
Weaknesses: His temperament is open to question following a number of disciplinary problems and he has been accused of being selfish, as well as indulging in some of football's dark arts.
Career high: Forming a devastating forward line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar helped lead Barcelona to the club's second Treble during the 2014-15 season.
Career low: In September 2010, Neymar displayed his petulant side when first sparking a ruckus in a match against Ceara, and then arguing with coach Dorival Junior when overlooked to take a penalty against Guarani. Dorival suspended the player, and was sacked as a result.
Style: Electric, inventive, irrepressible, a dangerous forward.
Quotes: "It is good to be compared with the best player [Pele]. But my dad told me about Garrincha's style as he moved forward, went up, attacked and dribbled. Garrincha's style is more similar to Neymar's." Neymar, January 2011.
Trivia: Over 14,000 Brazil fans signed a petition demanding that Neymar be called up by Dunga for the 2010 World Cup finals.
- A: GoalAssists
- Appear: Appearance
- Comp: Competition
- FC: Fouls Committed
- FS: Fouls Suffered
- G: TotalGoals
- Oppo: Opponent
- RC: Red Cards
- Res: Result
- SG: Shots On Target
- SH: Total Shots
- YC: Yellow Cards