The FIFA World Cup 2018 is around the corner and this is the time for the most admired and followed footballers to make most of the spotlight on them and create their mark. Neymar Jr, one of the most popular footballers and arguably in the same line as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and he would be looking to play his first full World Cup after suffering a life-threatening injury in a tie against Colombia in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Career so far: Neymar began his career by playing in the Santos FC youth academy. Neymar also travelled to Spain and played for Real Madrid youth team when he was aged 14. Real Madrid had stars such as Brazilian Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and Roberto Carlos. In his first season at Santos FC, Neymar successfully scored 14 goals in 48 matches.
Reportedly, Chelsea were looking to bring Neymar into their ranks in 2010 but were straight away rejected by the Santos team. Neymar improved his goal tally in the second season, scoring 42 goals in 60 games. Aged just 18 in 2010, Neymar ended third for the year’s best South American footballer. However, he went on to win the same award the next year in December and defended his title in 2012 as well.
On June 3, 2013, in a surprising revelation, Barcelona announced the signing of Neymar. The Brazilian had a successful run with Barcelona, winning the league twice, Champions League and Club World Cup once each, and Copa del Rey thrice. Shockingly in August 2017, Neymar decided to part ways with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to make a move to Ligue 1 giants, Paris Saint-Germain for a whopping €222 million, winning the league and Coupe de France once each with them. Currently playing in Paris, Neymar is heavily linked with a move to Barcelona rivals Real Madrid.
Family: Neymar was born to Neymar Santos Sr. (father) and Nadine da Silva (mother) in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, Brazil. Neymar had a son named Davi Lucca rumouredly with ex-girlfriend Carolina Dantas. Neymar also has a sibling sister Rafaella Beckran, whose face he has got inked on his arm and in return, Beckran has tattooed her brother’s eyes on her arm.
Interesting facts: While Neymar has certainly achieved a great deal of success in a very short span of life, it still remains to be seen if the Brazilian can finally settle with any club and whether he lives up to the reputation of being second only to Messi-Ronaldo’s legacy.
Here are some unknown facts about Neymar:
- Neymar scored his 100th professional goal on the day he turned 20. A feat difficult to achieve, Neymar decided to make his 20th birthday even more special and netted a goal in the against Palmeiras for his first club Santos.
- West Ham first spotted Neymar and decided to make a bid for him. Though Santos turned down the offer straight away, West Ham’s try at acquiring the forward was what drew the attention of major clubs towards him before being eventually bought by Barcelona.
- In 2013, Neymar became the first ever Brazilian footballer to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine. The other Brazilians to feature their earlier were only the politicians from the country.
- Neymar currently is the third-highest paid footballer in the world according to Forbes. Succeeding Lionel Messi who sits on the first position and Cristiano Ronaldo who is second, the 26-year-old has earned more than enough for his age.
- An unusual achievement at a very young age for Neymar is that he became a father at just the age of 19. Neymar, who named his son Davi Lucca, did not, however, reveal his mother’s name, though the rumour mills had it that his former girlfriend Carolina Dantas gave birth to him.
Neymar’s team Brazil are grouped with Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia in the FIFA World Cup that commences tonight in Russia. Brazil are expected to have a cake walk qualification to the Round of 16, while star player Neymar, who has just returned after suffering an injury, has shown some great recovery and promise after scoring in both the warm-up games that he played. Brazil would be banking on the young talent to deliver.