In Brazil’s quarterfinal match versus Croatia at the FIFA World Cup 2022, Neymar created history. Along with the legendary Pele, he now ranks as Brazil’s leading goal scorer. As of right present, each player has netted 77 goals for the Selecao.
While Neymar has tied Pele’s goal total, no one in World Cup history has yet to win three championships, including the great. Pele was a member of the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cup-winning Brazilian teams.
Who is Neymar Jr?
One of the most high-profile footballers in the world, Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr has been a revelation since he came to European shores. Now 30, the forward remains to be one of the most loved and successful footballers in the world and admiration for him has increased a thousandfold.
Apart from being one of the most colourful, enigmatic and followed footballers out there, Neymar’s abilities on the pitch have impressed and attracted millions of fans in the last decade. As the Brazilian hopes to reach new heights in what could be perhaps his last years playing, let’s take a look at the person he is and what made him what he is today.
Born in February 5, 1992, in Mogi das Cruzes in Sao Paulo, the became interested in the sport from a young age. His father, Neymar Santos Sr was a former footballer himself, and it was under his tutelage that Neymar’s talent began to grow.
The Brazilian began his football career in 2003, when he began playing for youth side Portuguesa Santista, before joining top-tier club Santos later that year. Neymar signed his first professional contract at the age of 17, and was promoted to Santos’ first team immediately after.
He made his senior debut for Santos on March 7, 2009. He finished the season with 14 goals in 48 games and came under the radar of several European clubs. In 2010, Neymar finished third for South American Footballer of the Year award, following Andres D’Alessandro and Juan Sebastian Veron. Another year later, he won the Puskas Award and was recipient of the South American Footballer of the Year award for the first time in his career. He won the Brazilian league three times, Brazilian cup once, Copa Libertadores once and Recopa Sudamericana once during his time with Santos.
He made a blockbuster move to Spanish giants FC Barcelona in 2013, where he became one of the most integral members of the team. Neymar, along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez created one of the most iconic trios in the history of football and spearheaded the Barcelona frontline. In his four seasons in Barcelona, he won the UEFA Champions League, LaLiga, Copa Del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, and the FIFA Club World Cup, including the treble and the domestic double.
Four years later, he joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain in a record €222 million deal, the most expensive transfer ever in the history of football. However, since then he has not been able to find the usual lethal nature that he had during his time in Spain. Neymar has played with some of the best players in his generation there, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria, and Lionel Messi — falling short of replicating his earlier form.
Neymar has excelled while donning the national team kit since he made his debut. He was part of the Brazil team in two FIFA World Cups along with Copa America, Olympics and other tournaments. He has helped his side win the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013, while becoming runners-up in the Copa America in 2021. He has scored 74 goals in 119 appearances for Brazil till now.