Neymar Jr or simply Neymar was born in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil on February 5 1992. The Brazilian superstar would go on to play for Santos FC before making a huge move to Barcelona, and is now one of the key players at Paris Saint-Germain. Neymar would also go on to play for his national team and represent them at two and most likely three World Cups.
Neymar’s popularity has transcended the sport of soccer and the famous soccer player has even participated in movies and going on the Jimmy Kimmel show in the United States. Here is a look at the life and career achievements of Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, one of the greatest Brazilian soccer players of all time.
As mentioned before, Neymar is a Brazilian soccer player most known for his play as a winger. Neymar is one of the most popular soccer players in the world due to his style of play which is reminiscent of street soccer. Neymar Jr. is known for his burst of speed, dribbling abilities, and shooting accuracy. The 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner has also been compared to such Brazilian greats such as Pelé and Ronaldinho.
Neymar Jr. grew up loving the game of soccer in São Paulo, Brazil. Neymar’s father was a pro soccer player and would later go on to advise his son as his career progressed. An avid lover of futsal and street soccer, the way the game is played in the streets of Brazil influenced Neymar heavily as he was on the cusp of turning pro. Neymar played as a boy for Sao Vicente, a youth soccer team in his neighborhood.
The Brazilian footballer developed a technique that mixed quick speed, dribbling, and shooting playing in the streets and with youth club Portuguesa Santista, which would eventually catch the attention of the Brazilian club Santos. In 2003 Neymar began playing for the Santos youth ranks and was immediately touted as “the next big thing”. Santos would give Neymar a contract that paid him $2,000 a month at 15 before even becoming a pro, and by 16 Santos wanted to make sure they had the young prospect signed on for the long term—they gave him an unprecedented $23,000 a month contract before going pro.
To put this into perspective, Neymar was earning what professional soccer players in most of South America were getting paid without ever playing a professional match. By the time he was 17, Neymar would become one of the biggest prospects in world soccer.
At 17, Neymar was promoted to the first team and would go on to make his professional debut with Santos on March 7th 2009, a 2–1 win against Oeste. It would officially start the career of one of Brazilian soccer’s biggest prospects of the last 20 years. Neymar would take Santos back to heights it had not seen since the days of Pelé and Robinho.
In his first season for Santos, Neymar would score 14 goals in 48 games across all competitions. Fans and media were mesmerized by the skill and flash of the lanky winger. Only one year after making his debut, Neymar would triple his output and begin to win championships.
In his first year as a pro Neymar would play for the Brazil U-17 squad and would go on to represent Brazil in the U-17 World Cup.
At Santos, Neymar would begin to finetune his craft all while helping Santos back to the top of Brazilian soccer. In five seasons from 2009-2013, Neymar would score an impressive 136 goals in 225 games for Santos. Not only that but Neymar was instrumental in winning the 2011 Copa Libertadores for the club, defeating Peñarol of Uruguay in the final.
During this period, Neymar was capped by Brazil for the first time in 2010 in a 2-0 friendly match victory against the United States on August 10 2010. He’d cement himself as one of the greatest players in Santos history and the best of the current generation.
Neymar would win the following titles at the Brazilian club:
It was truly a miracle that Neymar lasted as long as he did in Brazil. Brazilian soccer was going through an economic boom in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup in the country and Neymar was paid handsomely during his time there. Still, Europe came calling and it was FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi that would be the next chapter of Neymar’s career, and the Spanish giants went on to pay $64 million for his services.
Neymar arrived to a team loaded with talent and that took pressure off of the young Brazilian, being one of the boys on Lionel Messi’s team. Neymar would prove to be pivotal as he formed the MSN connection with Messi and Luis Suarez. The South American trio took LaLiga by storm and Barcelona defeated everyone, many games were 4-0 by halftime on various occasions.
Without question Neymar was playing with the best team in the world, and it showed—the club won:
The Champions League triumph was against Juventus and the Club World Cup was a sound victory over River Plate of Argentina, giving Barcelona their third Club World Cup. It was with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Andrés Iniesta, and of course, Neymar, that the world saw some of the best soccer ever played by any team in history.
In only four seasons and being at times the third or fourth most important player on that Barcelona team, Neymar scored an impressive 105 goals in 186 games for Barca. His time was seen as a resounding success.
At PSG, Neymar wanted to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and be the central figure of a team on his own. PSG would be that team and the French club paid 200 million euros to sign the Brazilian. In 2017, Neymar arrived in Paris and while the team was made for him to be its star, he did clash with Edinson Cavani. Cavani was PSG’s unquestionable best player and the two had issues on the field at times.
While Neymar has played well at PSG, injuries and the Champions League have put a dent on what would have been a stellar career in France. In his second season Neymar would only play 17 league games and the following season just 15. Nonetheless Neymar has cracked the 100 goal mark for PSG across all competitions in 144 games.
The jury is still out on Neymar, who has been reunited with Lionel Messi and also has Kylian Mbappé on the current squad. Despite winning various titles in Ligue 1, Coupe the France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophée des Champions, it’s Champions League or bust for the winger.
With the Brazilian national team, Neymar has represented the country in two World Cups, three Copa America’s, two Summer Olympics, and one Confederations Cup. Neymar has 119 caps for Brazil and 74 goals.
As we’re writing this article, Neymar is the fourth most capped Brazilian soccer player of all time and second highest goalscorer in the country's history over Ronaldo, Romario, Zico, and Bebeto.
Neymar has six World Cup goals in 10 matches where Brazil came in fourth in 2014 and sixth in 2018. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, in the quarter finals against Colombia, Neymar suffered a serious back injury when Juan Camilo Zúñiga kneed the Brazilian in the back and suffered a fractured vertebra in his spine taking him out of the tournament.
Neymar will be the central figure for the Brazil national team in the 2022 World Cup, where the five-time world champions will be odds on favorite to win the whole thing in Qatar.
With Brazil, Neymar only has one title, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup which Brazil won when they defeated Spain in the final and Neymar had four goals in the tournament.
Neymar is a pure winner in soccer, he has won titles at every team he has played for but the Brazilian selection. He has also had various personal achievements: One of the biggest highlights was winning the treble with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season. In that historic season, Neymar would score 39 goals and was a pivotal part of the team after Lionel Messi had gone down with an injury.
Neymar did participate in two Summer Olympics with the national team, winning the gold medal in soccer in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 games and a silver medal in 2012.
Other major individual honors for Neymar are:
Individual acknowledgements in major tournaments:
Neymar has been smart to get his brand out there, most notably on the big screen playing himself in xXx: Return of Xander Cage sharing a scene with none other than Samuel L. Jackson.
Later he appeared in the international hit show Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) but this time playing a Monk named Joao. Also, Neymar more than held his own kicking a soccer ball with Late Night host Jimmy Kimmel. Neymar is also an avid poker player and is one of the highest paid athletes in the world.
Neymar has earned well over $200 million dollars in his career through salary, film appearances, and endorsements. Neymar is interested in gaming and recently signed a gaming deal with Facebook for future projects.
As for his personal life, Neymar has a son named Davi Lucca, who was born in 2011 from his relationship with Carolina Danta.
Neymar is very close to his sister Rafaella Beckran and even sports a tattoo of her face on his arm. Neymar is a devout Christian and works with various charities to help feed poor children.
Watch the best highlights of Neymar, and other great sports moments on The Highlights App. Sign up to the waitlist to be the first to know when the app is available.
Be the first to find out about our upcoming launch.