Neymar: Player Profile

Brazil’s Golden Boy

Personal information
Full name: Neymar da Silva Santos Junior
Date of birth: 5 February 1992
Age: 22
Place of birth: Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position: Forward, winger

Club information
Current club: Barcelona
Number: 11

Youth career 
1999–2003: Portuguesa Santista 
2003–2009: Santos 

Senior career 
2009–2013: Santos 225 Appearances, 136 goals
2013– Barcelona 41 Appearances, 15 goals 

National team 
2009: Brazil U17 3 Appearances, 1 goal 
2011: Brazil U20 7 Appearances, 9 goals 
2012: Brazil U23 7 Appearances, 4 goals
2010– Brazil 48 Appearances, 31 goals

With Neymar set to lead the way for the host country of Brazil; there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the forward to win it all. 

As usual, Brazil is considered one of the elite teams in the tournament and may have an easy path out of the Group stage facing the likes of Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon in Group A. 

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. 

Neymar made a name for himself back in 2010 leading the Brazilians in the World Cup, but the team was considered a massive disappointment. 

Holland knocked out the Brazilian side much earlier than anticipated back in 2010, resulting in only the eighth time the country had failed to reach the semi-finals. 

Now that Neymar has four more years of experience under his belt and some time playing alongside greats like Messi in Spain, the Brazilian forward is poised for a breakout performance in front of Brazilian fans that worship the forward. 

It might sound a bit unfair to carry the responsibility of leading the most recognized and decorated international team in history at the age of 22. 

However, this is the one-time chance for Neymar to add his name to the list of Brazilian football gods. 

Former Brazil coach Mano Menezes took charge of Brazil after South Africa 2010 and called up Neymar, as he saw in him the jewel that needed to be polished and the immediate future of Brazilian football. 

When Scolari took over, he decided to carry on with the development of Neymar at the national team. And he wasn’t disappointed when he collected the sweet harvest that Menezes had planted. 

A more mature Neymar exploded at the Confederations Cup and left no doubt that he could be the one leading Brazil to a new reign. 

Even Scolari decided that Neymar was ready to take all the pressure once he announced the roster for the World Cup. 

It was clear that by leaving out Ronaldinho, Kaka and even Robinho, Neymar was the chosen one. In 2002, Scolari gave that same vote of confidence to Ronaldo and Rivaldo when he left out Romario. 

The difference is that today, no other player shares that trust and confidence with Neymar. 

If you really think about it, pressure in Brazil is everywhere, and most of it points Neymar’s way. It is up to his feet to transform such pressure into glory or to let it be his downfall.

Every so often a young Brazilian forward of such dazzling potential emerges that comparisons are immediately made with the greatest of football players. 

As a 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. 

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 been the subject of multi-million pound bids from giant European clubs, 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 Former coach Dunga, despite pleas from Pele himself, Neymar is at the forefront of the new Sele├žao under 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 continued excellence in the Santos shirt, despite some high-profile disciplinary problems, and his impact with Brazil at junior and senior level have led to persistent suggestions that he will move to one of Europe's biggest clubs, which he did, as Spanish giants Barcelona signed the prolific forward from Santos for 57 million Euros. 

After a highly touted move to Barcelona and a productive Confederations Cup, Neymar has had his eyes focused on lifting another trophy on home soil. 

Brazil remains a hotbed for soccer talent, but in the increasingly results-oriented modern game many Brazilian players are making detours to Eastern Europe or elsewhere in the Americas before making a breakthrough to the elite. 

But Neymar da Silva Santos Junior is no ordinary player. Since his professional debut, it's been obvious Neymar has talent, and his 2010 season inspired top clubs to begin putting in bids for the teenager's services. 

Even after winning the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year award, he waited, wanting the time to be right to ensure success. 

So when it became known that he would make his move in the summer of 2013, a fair amount of buzz had been generated. 

The summer started with the long-awaited announcement of which European club he would join with Barcelona winning the race for the starlet's signature, and he was an immediate contributor to the legendary team. 

First, though, he would lead his country to a Confederations Cup victory on home soil, winning the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player. 

Now, with a year at Barcelona under his belt, Neymar will try to replicate that feat with a more significant trophy and lift the World Cup in front of his countrymen.