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Neymar: Top class at the Confeds – is it time to believe the hype?

784   //    01 Jul 2013, 00:57 IST

Over the years, many star Brazilians have lit up the World Cup. From Garrincha to Pele, Jairzinho to Socrates, Ronaldo to Ronaldinho and many, many more. The greatest international tournament has long been the stage for many boys from Brazil to shine.

In recent years, there appears to have been a decline in Brazilian superstars, coincidentally coinciding with the rise of Spanish football and their superstar Spaniards, as well the Germans with their brilliant youngsters.

Now, though, for fans of the Seleção, there is an air of optimism with their current team. Young, up and coming stars such as Oscar and Lucas Moura, rising stars like Paulinho and established world-class performers like Thiago Silva, are providing fans willing the ‘Pentacampeões’ to win a 6th star with a reason to believe.

Then, above all else, there is one more man giving hope to the many supporters; Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. Commonly known as Neymar – Barcelona’s latest South American star.

At just 21-years old, Neymar will go into the World Cup with the world watching, including the added pressure of having all the hopes of many adoring fans placed on his shoulders.

Spearheading a fight for the World Cup trophy is so often an exacting task for the most experienced players – Ronaldinho struggled to impose himself fully on the 2006 World Cup, for example – but Neymar has no option but to deliver, to not only bring glory to many Verde-Amarela fans, but to also dispel the myth that he is an overrated showman, and not a footballer.

It’d be fair to say that almost every single fan of football has an opinion on Brazilian ‘futebol’s’ latest poster boy. Whether or not that opinion is full of positivity and superlatives, or perhaps even vitriolic diatribe, is another matter – everyone is talking about Neymar. As soon as he steps out of the tunnel and approaches the pitch, fans gather to spectate, most in anticipation of something extraordinary.

Regardless of any opinion formed on Neymar, there is no denying that what he can do with a ball can only be done by few other footballers. Fooling defenders and making them fall flat on their backsides is always enjoyable, and Neymar tends to do just that quite regularly.

Football is a game of entertainment, and you may be stretched to find a more entertaining player than Neymar in world football. With a change of pace as good as any, skill barely rivalled and dribbles like the best, Neymar personifies the beautiful game’s appealing artistry.


But, like many others, Neymar is not without his critics. Claims he is overrated are often bounced around social media outlets like a flood of basketballs in a sports hall, rebounding from here to there, echoing as they do. His performances in big games against better teams are often questioned, with many believing he can only perform against sub-standard opponents.

While some performances have been below what’s expected and required, particularly against Mexico in the Olympics final, to suggest the Brazilian league is so inferior that he’s able to make it look unchallenging and himself fantastic, is a nonsensical statement.

Many reviews of his performances have been shared, as have many views on his theatrics.

Diving has often been the bane of fans’ lives in the past. We all hate it; it’s unsportsmanlike and pathetic. But many do it. Not just Neymar. As horrible as it is to see, there’s no escaping it, with any player. It should stop, but will it? Probably not. And to stop this becoming a banal debate about diving, we shall now move on.

All of the above is opinion based, however, and while we may not all agree with one another, we cannot dismiss an opinion. What is a fact though, is that he’s not been viewable to many as a club footballer, with his career so far having been spent in South America with Santos.

But that is all about to change after the two-time South American Footballer of the Year agreed to join Spanish giants, Barcelona.

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