Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Brazil back Neymar all the way

12 June 2013, 16:08

Rio de Janeiro - Neymar, the latest diamond extracted from Brazil's mine of footballing talent, carries the hopes of a nation with one year to go to the World Cup, as well as the tag of "the new Pele" and rock-star status in his homeland.

The flashy 21-year-old star of the Selecao, with his eccentric, perpetually changing haircut, is taking all the attention in his stride, vowing to "make his mark" at Barcelona, where he has just signed for a cool 57 million euros ($75.3 million, 48.5 million).

As if it was not hard enough to be an equal to the legendary Pele, Neymar will also have to shine in the shadow of the brilliant Lionel Messi at Barca - the world's best player whom he hopes to emulate one day.

With an incredible technique and a hatful of goals circulating everywhere on the Internet, Neymar has quickly established himself as an icon in a Brazil deprived of any major star since Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or Robinho lost their lustre.

The good-looking boy is everywhere in Brazil.

On television, dressed up as Elvis, Tarzan or as a martian, he sells ice-cream or dances virtually naked to launch an underwear brand.

He is on web sites and at promotional events. Brazilian teenagers ask for "a Neymar" at the barber's. Fainting girls throw themselves in his path.

The footballer talks about his private life on social networking sites. There are photos of him with his young son and romance a young television soap opera actress Bruna Marquezina at the last Rio carnival.

His fame is spreading worldwide. In February, Time magazine called him "the next Pele" on its cover.

US magazine Sport Pro recently named him as the sportsmen with the biggest marketing potential in the world for the second year running, ahead of Messi and Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.

Neymar is evasive about whether such attention puts him under too much pressure.

"It's part of the job. It's a responsibility but it's great," he said.

Nevertheless, daily newspaper Globo has dedicated a full page to Neymar - called "Neymarketing" - expressing concern about over-exposure that could harm his sporting prowess.

"Neymar is becoming the Brazilian (David) Beckham," it assessed.

Football flows through the veins of Neymar and he knows nothing else.

As a child, he asked for a football every birthday, honing his astonishing technique through "futsal", the five-a-side game popular in South America which emphasises improvisation, creativity and ball control.

He was discovered at a school tournament and signed at the age of 13 for Santos. His first contract was for 450 reais ($225). His parents gave 10 percent of that to an evangelical church.

Despite his relatively small stature - just 1.74m (5ft 7in) - Neymar turned professional in 2009 aged 17 with Pele's old club, Santos.

He set Santos on fire, scoring 137 goals, winning three Rio state championships, a Brazilian cup and a Copa Libertadores, missing out only on a national title.

With his step-overs, overhead kicks, feints and flicks, Neymar is essentially an aerial dribbler and a devastating, cheeky humiliator of defenders. He also has lightning pace and a clean shot that burst nets.

Yet at the same time, he has an incorrigible habit of falling near defenders.

Another black mark on his copy book is that he has not yet performed well for the national side, something he could change when the Selecao opens their Confederations Cup account against Japan on Saturday.

Despite a decent record so far (19 goals in 31 matches), Neymar was part of the team that were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the 2011 Copa America by Paraguay and on the losing side to Mexico in last year's Olympic final.

Many people, including Ronaldo, have urged him to try his luck in Europe to toughen up against quicker and more compact defences.

"In every match abroad he plays badly. They all think they can solve the Selecao's problems. Neymar isn't ready to accept that responsibility," Pele has said.

"It's said he's the best in the world. But he's more concerned with appearing in the media than playing for the team. He's pre-occupied with changing his clothes and haircut..."

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page. Also get the latest news by following us on Twitter.




7 arrests over violence at West Ham

27 October 2016, 18:00

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Prepare for DP Ruto fight in 2022...

An MP has warned that the Kalenjin Community will not stand back and watch as DP Ruto is duped ahead of the 2022 polls. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be careful who you deal with, DP ...

Watch out for your political future, DP William Ruto has been warned. Read more...