At 25, the rising football star already has a busy career. Proof in 10 pivotal moments of the now most expensive player in history.
Neymar started professional football like many Brazilian talents before him during the São Paulo Championship, which has been contested every year in Brazil for more than a century and which opposes the city’s state clubs. That day, he played the last half-hour with his training club, Santos, against Oeste FC, who plays in the lower divisions (today in Brazilian Serie B). He is then 17 years old.
August 10, 2010: 1st selection and 1st goal with Brazil
The Neymar phenomenon soon took hold of Brazil, which saw in it Pelé’s successor, as was Robinho a few years earlier. The three men have in common that they played at Santos FC and were quickly propelled into the national team, with a lot of pressure that this involves. Neymar, he quickly shows his ability to take charge of the Auriverde jersey: his first selection, at 18, is crowned with a goal against the United States.
June 22, 2011: victory in Copa Libertadores
Winning the most beautiful continental club competition is a consecration. Even more when you get there with your trainer club. This year, Santos wins the trophy by defeating Penarol Montevideo (0-0, 2-1) in the final and shows the whole continent the talent of Neymar, author of six goals during the competition. The greats of Europe now have a more than attentive eye on his situation.
July 27, 2011: against Ronaldinho, the best goal of his career
One month after winning the Libertadores, the one who is on the way to becoming the icon of Brazil has an appointment with one of his predecessors, Ronaldinho. What should have been a simple match counting for the 12th day of Brasileiro will turn into a life-size transfer of power where the two teams, guided by their genius, will engage in a breathless crossover at the end of which Flamengo, the team de Ronnie, will get away with a 5-4 victory. A meeting marked by an exceptional goal of Neymar, who will be designated a few months later goal of the year by Fifa.
May 26, 2013: transfer to Barça
It’s been 3 years that the future of Neymar has been at the center of attention in Brazil and that Europe is eyeing with more and more emphasis on him. England and Spain make him the sweet eyes and the president of Santos is forced to achieve feats to find the necessary financing to keep it, with annual revenues reaching almost 13 million euros (including 7 of salary). But the club can only delay the inevitable. And in the summer of 2013, a year before the World Cup in Brazil of which he is the big star announced, he left Santos where he had been playing since his 11 years to join FC Barcelona for 57 million euros.
June 30, 2013: 1st title with Brazil, Confederations Cup
Aged just 25, Neymar currently has 77 caps for more than 50 goals. Statistics that already make him one of the most prolific players in the history of Seleçao in terms of ratio and which place him behind three legends (Pelé, Ronaldo, Romario) in the ranking of historical scorers arrived. But like others, he will have to reach the posterity of a major title with his selection to access the Pantheon of the greatest. In 2013, he won the Confederations Cup, a rehearsal before the World Cup to be held in Brazil a year later. Alas, he is helpless at the World Cup: if he carries his team during the group stage, injured, he assists from the bench the defeats of his training in the half and in the match for third place.
June 6, 2015: victory in the Champions League
The 2014-2015 season is probably the most successful of the player under the Blaugrana colors since he plays an active role in the conquest of the Champions League. Decisive on several occasions during the tournament (10 goals in 12 games), notably in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, he scored the 3rd goal in the final which sealed his team’s victory and enabled him to win, at 23, his first cut with big ears.
March 2016: the taxman catches it
Convicted of tax evasion and falsification of documents in Brazil about income derived from his image rights, Neymar is ordered to pay 46 million euros by the Brazilian justice, which on this occasion freezes part of his assets on-site, including his jet and his yacht. There is talk of his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, allegedly estimated at 57 million euros but on which Santos, the player’s family, and his image companies have in fact touched around 90 million. A situation which also earned him to be heard by the Spanish justice.S
August 19, 2016: Olympic gold, finally
Quintus a world champion, Brazil has never been able to climb the highest step of the Olympic football tournament at the start of the Rio Games. The context is particular. Two years earlier, the Seleçao suffered a historic snub (1-7) against Germany in the semi-finals and Neymar, leader of a team under 23, has the heavy task of guiding it towards a first Olympic coronation which would have the taste of redemption. A role he assumed from start to finish until the final, against the Mannschaft, during which he scored the Brazilian goal on a free kick before exploding the Maracaña when converting the shot to the final goal (1- 1, tab: 5-4).
August 3, 2017: record transfer to Paris SG
Neymar comes out of his last regular season in the colors of a Barça who struggles to display the same consistency in the exceptional. The Catalan exercise knows only one real moment of ecstasy, an unprecedented comeback against PSG (6-1) in the knockout stages of the Champions League, during which Neymar causes a penalty before scoring two goals and an assist. Still insufficient to escape from the shadow of Lionel Messi. A few months later, lured by an insane salary, comforted by the presence of several compatriots and the prospect of becoming the gondola of a European level project, he signed up for 5 years with Paris SG for a record amount of 220 million euros.