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Neymar makes Time Magazine's 100 most influential people list

Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar is the only football player who has been named in Time Magazine's 100 most influential people on the planet.

Neymar is included in the "Icon" section of a list which also includes fellow sports stars LeBron James and Tom Brady.

Having joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013, Neymar's reputation has grown steadily alongside five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi.

Now 25, he is widely viewed as the player most likely to take over from Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the game's stand-out performer.

"He is a young man who at 25 is well on his way to becoming the best player in the world," former England captain David Beckham writes in Time Magazine.

"A once-in-a-generation type of footballer who has fans on their feet whenever he gets the ball."

Neymar
Neymar has already won two La Liga titles, the Champions League and the Club World Cup with Barcelona.

Beckham predicts Neymar's role -- two goals and an assist in a remarkable finale -- in Barca's incredible 6-1 comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain last month will be the moment which could define his career.

"I suspect the recent Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain, when Neymar helped his team to an unforgettable win, will be remembered as the moment he stepped up to take on the mantle of best player in the world," he adds.

"Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have a new rival to that claim -- and Neymar is ready to make his move."

Like Beckham, Neymar has crafted an image away from the pitch as much as on it -- and that was never more evident than after that victory over PSG.

The following day a huge advertising board was up in the centre of the Catalan city with a photograph of Neymar alongside his prematch comments: "One percent chance, 99 percent faith."

That was a campaign ran by Nike, one of the many brands who work with the forward.

In collaboration with his father, he has carefully cultivated his image off the pitch, although that has not negatively impacted his performances on it.

So far this season Neymar has scored 15 goals in all competitions for Barca and while that is less than he managed in his two previous campaigns, many feel this has been his best campaign since arriving at Camp Nou.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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