Neymar – Brazil’s Golden Boy

NeymarHe is the biggest name in South America. He is the poster boy of Brazilian football. He is the face of the World Cup in 2014. He is a household name across the globe. He is the most marketable footballer in the world. But why is there so much hype about a young Brazilian called Neymar.

The soon to be Barcelona forward has drawn many comparisons in his early years. He has been compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Pele. Even Pele has publicly said that Neymar is the best player in the world and is a more complete player than Messi.

Quite a statement considering Neymar has only played in Brazil and has never performed on a bigger stage.

Neymar’s stats for Santos are impressive. Since making his debut as a 17 year old in 2009, Neymar has scored 54 times in 103 appearances. Has 32 caps for Brazil and scored 20 times. Has been voted South American Footballer of the Year for the past two seasons. Won the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year and is a Copa Libertadores winner.

Not bad considering he is only 21 years old.

But for all his impressive stats and the endless YouTube video clips of Neymar’s skills, the standard of opposition he faces in Brazil is seriously questionable. Some people may say the standard is not that bad and rave about Neymar. But the majority will know that it is not a great standard of football and until Neymar starts performing for Barcelona, there is no way he can be considered as one of the worlds best.

On the few occasions where Neymar has had the chance to light up our television screens, he has failed to do so.

Neymar was in the Brazil team that faced England at Wembley in February. England won the game 2-1 and Neymar didn’t turn up. Everyone was waiting to see glimpses of the boy wonder and what he can do, but he didn’t deliver. You usually see a few touches or a few pieces of skill and just know that player has something special. You didn’t see that with Neymar.

His performance at Wembley didn’t impress Joey Barton either. Barton took to twitter to say.

“This Neymar fell is massively overrated. Not in the same street as Messi or Ronaldo. I wouldn’t pay the £40-50 million there were asking for Neymar. Not a chance. #showpony.

Six months prior to that friendly, Neymar was in the Brazilian Olympic squad. A tournament which didn’t feature many world class names. We were led to believe that this boy wonder was going to inspire the samba boys to a gold medal. He failed to do. Despite scoring three times, his hype of the next biggest thing was extremely flattering.

With his move to Barcelona confirmed, there have been several Brazilians in the past that have gathered a following and built up a hype whilst playing in Brazil and moved to Europe and failed to deliver.

Denilson left Sao Paolo and joined Real Betis for a then world record transfer fee of £21.5million. His first two seasons with Betis were poor and ended up getting relegated. After being loaned back to Brazil, Denilson returned as a backup. He then spent the rest of his career changing clubs around the world.

Keirrison may be an unfamiliar name to some. But to others, he is a €14million flop from Brazil. Barcelona paid out that amount in 2009 after Keirrison stared for Palmeiras. But since his arrival, he has not played a single minute for Barca and has spent his time out on loan at a range of clubs and has failed to impress.

Robinho had a big following in Brazil. A high profile move which never worked out at Real Madrid was followed by a poor stint at Manchester City. For all the skills, there was never a great return from the Brazilian. Robinho now stars for AC Milan, but has never lived up to his hype.

There have been several high profile flops that have arrived straight from Brazil. But the two best players Brazil have produced in the past 15 years done things a bit differently.

Ronaldo and Ronaldinho started their careers in Europe at PSV Eindhoven and Paris Saint Germain. The duo spent time adapting to European football away from the spotlight and the pressure that comes with

playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Once they had adapted and were comfortable with life in Europe, they then moved on to the big teams and became the footballers that we know today.

A lot of Brazilians should take note of what Ronaldo and Ronaldinho done and look to do the same. A move to a big club can ruin a players career. If they struggle to adapt to the physicality and the speed of European football, with millions of fans watching their every game, they may never be the same. Many Brazilians have come to Europe, struggled, and returned back to Brazil.

For Neymar, his summer switch to Barcelona will spark a lot of interest. Many football fans want to see what all the fuss is about Brazil’s golden boy without having to watch YouTube clips. Where in all honesty, you can make any player look good.

Neymar will struggle at first, but many players do when they change climate. Neymar is use to having it easy with Santos. The Brazilian league is pretty poor and is played at quite a slow pace. At Barcelona it will be different. He won’t be the main man, that will be Messi and he has to accept that. He’s a selfish player and must learn to be a team player and has to adapt to Barcelona’s style of play.

People already cast him as one of the worlds best. At Barcelona, he will have the chance to show he is one of the worlds best. The world is waiting.