Olympic Stories

Neymar - Football

Neymar - Football

Born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Neymar da Silva Santos is a footballer who will be representing his country in this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London. Known solely as Neymar, this 20-year-old forward is a star on his Santos professional team and is the current award holder for the FIFA Puskas Award. This summer’s Games will be Neymar’s first trip to the Olympics, but it won’t be his last.

Neymar has stood out as one of the best footballers in the world since he was still basically a kid. Playing professionally and semi-professionally since 2003, the star has spent over half of his life on the pitch. And while Neymar has yet to rack up the career achievements like so many others in his profession, the amazing thing about him is that he’s only just getting started.

Sporting Career

Neymar da Silva Santos joined the Santos football team when he was only 11. He wouldn’t make his first-team appearance until six years after, but with a 2-1 win against a strong club during Neymar’s debut, most found it well worth the wait. He spent a lot of time in the semi leagues, honing his talents as a forward and working on football fundamentals. Only 20, he still has a long way to go.

During his second ever start in the professional league Neymar scored his first goal in impressive fashion. Tied 1-1 in the semi-final against Estadio Vila Belmiro, Neymar sent his team to victory with a goal in the waning minutes of the match. And even though Santos would lose in the final to Corinthians, Neymar’s legend was starting to grow already.

A year later, in a 2010 matchup against rival Guarani, Neymar went on a goal-scoring spree. This wasn’t just any old match; this was the round of 16 in the Brazilian Cup. Neymar didn’t shy away from the pressure. He rose to the occasion and scored an unreal 5 goals in an 8-1 defeat of a talented club. Neymar had an impressive streak that season, scoring 14 goals in 19 games. Santos would be crowned Brazilian Cup Champions and Neymar would be honored as the best player of the tournament.

With such an impressive performance, the English Premier League obviously came knocking on Brazil’s door. West Ham United offered Santos 12 million (GBP) for the rights to Neymar, but Neymar, along with the club, flat-out declined the offer.

In a run during the 2011 Copa Libertadores Finals, Neymar would score an amazing 6 goals to help his team win their first Copa title since 1963. Brazil hadn’t won that particular trophy since Pele—the best footballer of all time—played for the club.

Brazil did not include Neymar in its 2010 World Cup team, and this is a mistake that they made sure to quickly correct when naming a team for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Neymar is the team’s best forward and will play huge minutes.

Career Highlights

  • 2010 Brazilian Cup – 1st Place
  • 2011 Copa Libertadores Finals – 1st Place
  • 2011 FIFA Puskas Award
  • 2012 Summer Olympics – Silver

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