- 5'8" (1.74m)
- 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.
Overlooked for the 2010 World Cup by Dunga, despite pleas from Pele himself, Neymar is at the forefront of the new Selecao under Luiz Felipe Scolari and, having already scored on his debut against United States in August 2010, caught Europe's attention when scoring twice against Scotland at Emirates Stadium when winning only his third cap in March 2011. Neymar had already become a player of some repute in his home country though.
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 are focused upon Neymar to inspire his nation to victory on home soil at the 2014 World Cup and if he can rekindle the form he showed at the Confederations Cup 12 months ago, he could well parallel the successes of Pele, Garrincha and Romario before him.
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: His dazzling performances at the 2013 Confederations Cup helped Brazil to win the trophy and restore the fans' harmony and support for the Selecao.
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.
|Brazil||H - Colombia||Jul 4, 2014||WC||W 2-1||Started||0||1||3||0||1||4||0||0|
|Brazil||H - Chile||Jun 28, 2014||WC||W (3) 1-(2) 1||Started||0||0||4||3||4||5||0||0|
|Brazil||A - Cameroon||Jun 23, 2014||WC||W 1-4||Sub-Off 70.0 min||2||0||4||4||1||2||0||0|
|Brazil||H - Mexico||Jun 17, 2014||WC||D 0-0||Started||0||0||3||2||1||5||0||0|
|Brazil||H - Croatia||Jun 12, 2014||WC||W 3-1||Sub-Off 87.0 min||2||0||4||4||1||2||1||0|