Name: Neymar Junior
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Date of Birth: 5 February 1992
Position: Left-winger, second-striker
The whole world knows who Neymar Junior is and the Brazilian is one of the most marketable and surely most recognisable names on the footballing stage. The now 28-year-old forward from Sao Paulo still holds the title for the most expensive player on the planet and is also one of the world’s best at what he does. Neymar’s career, however, started back home in Brazil at Santos.
And needless to say, he was still very young when he first joined in 2003. Of course, at first, he would play for their youth setups but with the incredible talent and flair with which he played, there was no other way but up for him. Interestingly, when he was only 14, Real Madrid invited him for a trial at their camp but the deal ultimately failed as the Brazilian would eventually be snatched away by Los Blancos’ eternal rivals.
On 7 March 2009, aged only 17, Neymar made his official debut for Santos and soon, decisive goals, assists and general amazement from the crowds followed as he tore through the opposition. As a whole, he remained at his boyhood club from 2009 until 2013, racking up a total of 70 goals and 35 assists across 134 games played for the Brazilian side. On the way, of course, he would also grab some titles, including the Copa Libertadores in 2010/11, Recopa Sudamericana the year later and a Brazilian Cup in 2010.
As we now already know, there was a lot of drama surrounding Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona and then subsequently the move to Paris Saint-Germain too. A lot of it had to do with money, of course, and the Barcelona case was also taken to court and brought under investigation. However, the deal was still finalised and the Brazilian became a Barca player in 2013, starting a decently long and incredibly successful spell with the Catalan giants.
Across 186 games, Neymar managed to net a total of 105 goals while assisting an additional 77 in the process as well. Everything pointed towards him becoming their legend and taking over the mantle of Lionel Messi when the time was right. But, fate had one last twist in mind and the Brazilian one last chapter to write.
In August 2017, Barcelona announced Neymar’s release clause had been paid and he would be joining Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record deal worth around £201m, a figure yet to be eclipsed and one that’s, in fact, unlikely to get overtaken any time soon. Needless to say, the Brazilian is so far enjoying his stay in France, at least in terms of winning, scoring and impressing the crowds, three things he absolutely loves to do.
So far, he has played 81 games, scoring 70 goals and assisting 39, which is absolutely remarkable. But, even from the very first season at Parc des Princes, there was talk of him regretting the move and who knows, maybe we haven’t seen the last of Neymar on the market just yet.
As is usually the case with the biggest starlets in world football, there are always transfer news surrounding Neymar Junior. And of course, none are as big and as repetitive as his potential return to Barcelona. However, this is a deal that’s extremely difficult to get over the line, especially since the Catalans are having financial issues and the Brazilian is still among the most expensive players on the planet.
But of course, there were some transfer rumours claiming a potential swap to the Premier League is possible as both Liverpool and Manchester United were also mentioned as interested. Of course, any team is going to struggle to sign the Brazilian simply due to his price tag but there are certainly some teams that have the financial power to do so.
It will be interesting to see what transfer news await us in the ongoing summer window.
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much Neymar can’t do with the ball at his feet. The Brazilian is still largely lauded as one of the best players in the world and rightly so. His technique, flair and a knack for both goal-scoring and chance creation are simply on a different level and he is always the focal point of Paris Saint-Germain’s attack.
Even though he is a left-winger by nature, Neymar likes to cut inside and advance through his respective half-space. In recent years, he would even occupy the central zones behind the strikers more and drop extremely deep to progress the ball when needed. In that way, he has strayed away from that traditional winger mould and moved more into a free-roam role across the final third.
He absolutely loves to dribble and will sometimes take it a bit too far, provoking fouls and driving the opposition crazy, even earning himself a booking or two.