Neymar has come a very long way since initially making a name at Santos; brought through the same academy that has produced other Brazilian internationals such as Philippe Coutinho, Elano and Alex.
Everyone knew what a special talent he was in Brazil, with the forward winning the prestigious FIFA Puskas in 2011 for scoring a sensational solo goal in a league match against Flamengo. He won the 2011 South American Footballer of the year, following the steps of Diego Maradona, Romario, Pele and Zico and followed it up by retaining the same award in 2012.
His phenomenal form saw an apparent tug-of-war between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona for the Brazilian ace, with Neymar eventually transferring to Catalonia and forming a deadly partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Constantly overshadowed by bigger brands such as Messi and Ronaldo, he’s often shunned by pseudo-pundits and many factions in the footballing world who claim he isn’t the real deal people make him out to be.
Here we list 5 reasons why we love the Brazilian talisman and why he could definitely become one of the finest footballers on the planet.
#5 His unique style and image
While he has been derided for unnecessarily showboating on the field, we firmly believe it is one of the aspects of his game that makes him an infinitely more entertaining and loveable footballer. A rhythmic gymnast with the ball at his feet, his exemplary footwork would leave the opposition for dead.
His tricks and flicks have defined his career. While it could have been easy to drop all of it once he earned his big-money move to Barcelona, he stayed true to his style. In the modern age of football where six-packs and biceps are used to judge a player’s worth, Neymar elucidates why football is called ‘the beautiful game.’ His flimsy and wiry frame hasn’t stopped him from reaching the top.
The Barcelona No.11’s loose jogger style pants, his cuckoo hairstyles and their spunky colours, his wristbands and jazzy apparel, all constitute his image and as a footballer and they’re as unique as they come.
People relate him to Ronaldo through his flashy photo-shoots, his Lamborghinis, his leather jackets and his physicality and commitment. Similarly, people relate him to Messi because of his noble attitude and humble demeanour.
Neymar’s in that bracket of footballers which the younger generation identifies itself with; someone who doesn’t care about what others think and does and dresses as he pleases, shunning social and public opinion.
Neymar also manages to play this ‘fun’ brand of football without sacrificing results on the pitch. When we watch him play, it reminds us of a certain Ronaldinho, maybe the last guy to samba his way into footballing folklore.