Football got into Neymar Jr.’s life even before he was born. His father built a career on Brazilian professional and amateur football and lived through countless phases in sport that, in the future, served as an experience, so that Neymar Dad could guide his son by the best way possible on his football career.
Only two years old and the kid literally started a case of love with sports. His mother, Nadine, gave Neymar Jr. a ball as a gift. The player has a ball collection ever since. From there, football received the kid from Mogi das Cruzes with open arms.
Three years old and Neymar Jr. already showcased coordination and intimacy whenever he played with the ball. But it was only when he was six that he caused a stir. Running and playing through the bleachers while his father played, the kid drew the attention of one of the most famous Brazilian talent discoverers. Betinho, that had already discovered Robinho, saw agility and speed on that slim boy that ran up and down the stairs and had no doubt that there was a future for the kid.
Neymar Jr. and Betinho started to walk through the Futsal courts of the Baixada Santista. Timuaru, Gremetal and Portuários were part of NJr.’s football evolution. Known by his short tricks and his speed, the heavy sport also called the attention of football giants.
Two Santos FC ex-players, Lima and Zito, found out that there was a boy with a great promised future on futsal. And the curiosity did not stop there.Lima went to watch Neymar Jr. in action and had no doubt that he had the famous “distinct player with the ball” in front of him. He was only 12 years old when Lima and Zito had a conversation that was essential to take the boy to Santos FC. Without a basic category to receive Neymar Jr., the club created the sub-13 and then he became a member of the Alvinegro team.
Years went by and so did the player in the categories. By that time, Neymar Jr. started being managed by Wagner Ribeiro, that was also managing Robinho. Also in 2005, the manager took NJr. and his father to Europe for a very important and decisive decision for the player’s future. Living some weeks on foreign soil, making tests, Neymar Jr. missed his family, friends and his country, to the point of going back home and closing his first contract with Santos.
A reality on football and sports, Neymar Jr. kept making his staggering tricks on the courts. It was on Copa TV Trobuna de Futsal Escolar, promoted by Rede Globo’s affiliated tv company, TV Tribuna, that the boy, with a smile on his face and happiness on his feet, marked his name. Disputing the competition by the Liceu São Paulo School, Neymar Jr. played on the 2004’s edition and became champion on the 2005 cup. One of the most iconic images of the player’s childhood was of him using the “100% Jesus” band on his head.
Always playing between players too old for his category, Neymar Jr. became the spotlight. By the basic categories, the striker disputed two Copa São Paulo de Juniores. After his second cup, Neymar Jr. was promoted to Santos’s professional team in 2009. He debuted as a professional with only 17 years old, on march 7, against Oeste, at the Pacaembu stadium, on a Campeonato Paulista match.
A few days later, against Mogi Mirim, at march 15, Neymar Jr. scored his first goal as a professional player. On a crossing that came from the left, from Roni’s feet, Santos’s number seven plunged for his first head goal on the club. On that same year, he also participated on his first championship finals, but didn’t get the victory, with Corinthians winning from Santos.
Only one year was separating the player from his title. Again by the Campeonato Paulista, now in 2010, Neymar Jr. finally got his first major victory. The new Meninos da Vila generation, lead by Robinho, Neymar Jr., PH Ganso and André, delighted the country with a football art that for long was not seen on Brazilian fields. And on that same season, another title was conquered. The Copa do Brasil marked this team on the club’s history, also because of the campaign of amazing scoreboards and the spot on the Libertadores da América dispute. It was on Copa do Brasil that Neymar Jr. became top scorer of a competition for the first time as a professional, with 11 goals.
It was in 2010 that the dream of many Meninos da Vila became reality in the life of Neymar Jr. In his first call-up to the main Brazilian Football National Team, at a friendly match against the USA, he had the happiness of debuting with his right foot – or rather – his head, to score his first goal, right after a pass from André Santos.
Following last year’s explosive rhythm, 2011 got marked forever on Neymar Jr.’s career. Two time champion of Campeonato Paulista, owner of the most important goal against Corinthians, it was then that a never seen before deed happened for the team. After 48 years without winning the Libertadores, Santos won the competition for the third time with a campaign that glued everyone’s eyes on the television. NJr was considered the best player on the competition and the second-top-scorer, with six goals, beyond contributing on the team’s classification for FIFA’s Club World Cup, against Barcelona, in Japan.The result was not what everyone expected from the team that was delighting the world. Lea by Messi, Barcelona won by 4-0.
Also in 2011, Neymar Jr. was South American Sub-20 champion with the National Brazilian Football Team and top scorer of the competition with nine goal. He was also champion of the Superclassic of the Americas with the main National Team.
The biggest Santos top scorer after the Pelé Era, with 138 goals on 230 games, Neymar Jr. fixed his name on the Vila Belmiro team. Neymar Jr. was three time champion of the Campeonato Paulista in 2012, having reached 100 goals when facing Palmeiro. On February fifth, same date as his birthday. A double gift for the athlete! Again Neymar Jr. obtained an individual achievement in his career, being Campeonato Paulista’s top scorer with 20 goals.
Three times Libertadores da America champion, Santos got to the end of the South American semi finals.Neymar Jr. scored eight goals and, along with Matias Alustiza, from Deportivo Quito, he was the top goal scorer of Taça Libertadores in 2012. Together with Robinho, Santos’s number 11 is the second player that most scored on the club, adding this championship’s editions, with 14 goals. King Pelé is the first with 17 goals. On this year, he also managed to be the Vice-Champion of the Olympic Games, disputed in London.
With the captain’s armband, Neymar Jr. won the Recopa Sul-Americana, after Santos FCwon from Universidade de Chile by 2-0, in Pacaembu. Liberadores champion in 2011, the Vila Belmiro team conquered their second trophy on the year of their centenary surpassing the Copa Sul-Americana champion. The teams were equalized on a 0-0 draw, at Santiago, in Chile, and Neymar Jr. and Bruno Rodrigo guaranteed Santos’s goals on Brazilian soil. It was Santos’s ninth international title and Neymar Jr.’s sixth with the club.
On his fourth Campeonato Brasileiro, NJr helped Santos on finishing the competition on the eighth place. The striker achieved a great personal mark becoming Santos’s second highest top scorer in national matches, surpassed only by Pelé. The player finished the season with 43 goals with Santos FC.
Only 21 years old and Neymar Jr. is the only player on Santos’s history that participated on five Campeonato Paulista finals, on the knockout stage. The ‘Fish’ was Vice-Champion of the Campeonao Paulista in 2013, after losing to Corinthians on the first game a finishing the second on a draw. Neymar Jr. was, by the fourth consecutive time, the best player on the competition and the second highest top scorer, with 12 goals.
His last game as a Santos FC player happened on May 26 of 2013. Neymar Jr. was seeking new challenges and new experiences, now playing in one of the biggest world championships while defending the FC Barcelona. It was by that time that another Neymar Jr.’s childhood dreams became true.
On July 3th, Neymar Jr. met his new home. In front of 50 thousand people, the Camp Nou and the Blaugrana crowd received their new number 11 with open arms. Speaking Catalan, he appreciated the warm reception and talked about the happiness of being able to play in Barcelona, alongside Messi, his great idol.
After his official presentation for Barcelona, Neymar Jr. put on the Brazilian National Football team shirt for an important competition in Brazil, considered, by him, an honor by few football players. Neymar Jr. had this privilege, and wearing the number 10 shirt, he conquered the Confederations Cup. The player played the five games with his partners and won every single one. On the big final, against Spain, at Maracanã, Brazil madei 3-0 with two goals from Fred and one from Neymar Jr. This was Brazil’s fouth championship on the Confederations Cup. NJr was elected as the best player on the championship and also the vice-top-socrer, with four goals.
On FC Barcelona, Neymar Jr. found his space in no time. The player participated on the victory of the Joan Gamper trophy that marked the beginning of the season for the Catalan team. His official debut happened in front of 73 thousand people, at Camp Nou, against Levante, on a victory of 7-0, on the Spanish Championship. Barça’s number 11 was quiet during the game, but his goal came out soon.
On continuity of the European season, Neymar Jr. was important on achieving the Spanish Super Cup, against Atlético Madrid, by scoring the goal for the 1-1 draw, outside of Barça’s home, at the Vicente Calderón stadium. The goal was his first official goal with the Barcelona shirt. On Camp Nou, the teams ended on a 0-0 draw and Barcelona started 2013/2014 season with the prestigious title.
With his thoughts on the best championships in the world, Neymar Jr. got out of the video game and went to do it live, on the Champions League. On September of 2013, the striker got into the field, for the 300ª time as a professional player, on his Champions debut, against Ajax. The goal didn’t go out, but he didn’t spare no one later.
Neymar Jr. faced Celtic with Barcelona and scored his first hat-trick with the catalan team. Delighting the whole world, NJR took the ball home and also the taste of another personal realization.
His first season with the catalan team did not end the way Neymar Jr. would like to, but the experience he gained with it was enormous, as he always likes to say. Besides having suffered a serious injury and not playing a few games, Neymar Jr. helped the team to conquer two titles on occasions where he was available to be picked by the coach.
This was his first cycle on his European football career, but it was time for Neymar Jr. to make another dream come true: Deputing his first World Cup on his own country. On 2014, June’s 12th day, the player was playing on the biggest championship in the planet. Against Croatia, Brazil’s first game, they won by 3-1, at the Corinthians Arena. Brazil’s number 10 scored two goals and Oscar finished it.
Brazil got over Mexico with a stalemate and won by 4-1 of Cameroon, with goals from Neymar Jr., ending the group phase. Against Chile, victory came by the penalties and the striker also left his goal. Brazil also won from Colombia by 2-1, score that got them to the semi finals, but Neymar Jr. suffered a major injury and had to sit out of the World Cup.
The player suffered a dangerous foul from Zuñiga, right on his back, fracturing his L3 left vertebra. This disabled NJr for the competition, because it would take six weeks for his full recovery. Out of the game against Germany, Neymar Jr. didn’t go into the field with his partners. And it was on this game that the Brazilian National Team saw itself out of the World Cup, with a 7-1 defeat against their rivals. The dispute for the third place was against Netherlands, that won by 3-0.
Even out of Brazil’s last games, Neymar Jr. scored four goals on the competition and was elected as the owner of the Bronze Boot, by being on the third place between the World Cup’s top scorers.
2014/2015 was a season of great numbers and titles for Neymar Jr. The striker formed the most deadly trio of all Barcelona’s history. Side by side with Messi and Suárez, the feared ‘Trident’ became very well known among the fans and adversaries. They scored 122 goals on the season and together they were the biggest top scoring trio of all Barça’s history.
The cherry on the cake came with the Treble. After and incredible campaign on the season, Barcelona won all of the championships they participated, gaining the Copa del Rey, Spanish Championship and the Champions League titles. The were also champions on the Spanish Supercup. Neymar Jr.finished the Champions League as the top scorer, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, 10 goals each. This was the first time the player won the Spanish Championship and Champions. He also made the final goal on the final moment of their last game on the league, against Juventus, in Berlin. The match was 3-0.
NJr is the only player in history of football to score goals on the Champions and Libertadores’ finals, winning the title from both championships. The athlete is also the first player in the history of UEFA Champions League to score in all of the games he participated.
Still enjoying this great phase in his career, Neymar Jr. turned his year with his right foot. In December of 2015, in an award ceremony of Liga BBVA, NJr took the prize of Best American Player, while competing against Luis Suárez and James Rodriguez.
Following the rhythm of the end of the year, Neymar Jr. helped his fellow Barcelona to defeat River Plate, on the FIFA Club World Cup final, and ensure another title for his long collection.
In 2016, the player had the honor of being nominated, along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as one of the candidates to win FIFA’s Balon d’Or. During the ceremony, the athlete debuted on FIFA’s 2015 Team of The Year, chosen as one of the best strikers of the year.
Despite being one of the three finalists, Neymar Jr. didn’t take the title of Best Player in the World to his home. This time, it was his team-mate Lionel Messi, who took the Golden Ball.
Neymar Jr. and the MSN Trio kept giving their best, overcoming themselves and making even more gols. In good phase, Barça's 'El Tridente' helped to take the team to the Champions League's quarterfinals. On the dispute, NJr and his teammates faced Atletico Madrid and defeated the team by 1-0 at the Camp Nou. But, at the adversary's home, Atletico bested them, winning by 2-1 and eliminated Barcelona from the Champions League.
The team kept their head high and sought the "spanish doblete". Barcelona defeated Granada by 3-0 on the last Spanish Championship round and was crowned as the champion. This is Neymar Jr.'s second La Liga victory and also his best championship on the Europe, with 24 goals and 16 assistances.
On 2015/2016 season’s last match for Barcelona, the team had to face Sevilla, on Copa del Rey’s final. The Catalan victory took too long to come, but arrived on the extension time, when Neymar Jr. scored the last goal of the 2-0 victory. NJr conquered another trophy for his list and became two-times champion of the tournament.
After the title, Neymar Jr. enjoyed a good period of vacations before going back to training to face the football tournament at Rio 2016’s Olympic Games.
The Brazilian National Team made goalless draws in their first two matches and were heavily criticized by the fans and media. Both believed that the gold wouldn’t come easily, but everything changed after the 4-0 rout against Denmark.
The team eliminated Colombia in the quarterfinals, defeated Honduras by 6-0 and Neymar Jr. scored the fastest goal in his career and in the history of the Olympic Games. In the final, the athletes made a 1-1 draw against Germany and had to decide in the penalty shot-out. Weverton saved one and the captain of the team shook the net in the decisive shot, conquering the golden medal for the first time for the Brazilian football.
Back to the Spanish Season, Neymar Jr. and his teammates from Barça made everything to conquer another Treble. One of the most decisive moments of the player in the season was during the Champions League's last 16. After losing by 4-0 in the first game against Paris Saint-Germain, the club made history in the tournament, staring an amazing 6-1 "La Remontada" against the French squad. Njr scored two goals and made an assist. The team strengthen themselves for another big win in the quarter final, but Juventus eliminated them.
As for La Liga, they fought bravely for the tight dispute of the title, but the championship ended with Barcelona in second. In the end, the team left the season with another Copa del Rey's trophy, defeating Alavés by 3-1, with a goal from Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi and Paco alcácer.
Neymar Jr. enjoyed a good period of vacations, visiting places like Japan, USA and Brazil. He returned to the pitch with the FC Barcelona and sparkled in the Champions Cup, scoring three beautiful goals. But his road in the Catalan Club was over. From 2013 to 2017, the player lived his dream, played side by side with his idol (Lionel Messi), played in the team he always wanted to play and won every title he could. But it was time to sail on a new journey. Njr's last match with the FC Barcelona was in the 3-2 victory against Real Madrid. He said his goodbyes to the team and his teammates, going after new challenges in his career. In August four, wearing the shirt number 10, Neymar Jr. was presented at Paris Saint-Germain, at Parc des Princes - His new home.
But even with a great start of a season on the PSG, the player’s deeds on the 2016/2017 season, when he defended the FC Barcelona, were still remembered. This got him a place as a finalist on the FIFA The Best prize and on their Team of the Year, the FIF Pro World 11. The number 10 did not get elected as “The Best”, with the prize being delivered to Cristiano Ronaldo, but, side by side with Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr. was once again among the 3 best players in the world.
Titles and Prizes -
FIFA FIFPro World 11 2017
FIFA The Best Finalist 2017
- Copa del Rey Champion 2016/2017
Spanish Supercup Champion 2016
Joan Gamper Trophy Champion 2016
Golden Medal – Rio Olympic Games 2016
Copa del Rey Champion 2015/2016
La Liga Champion 2015/2016
Joan Gamper Trophy Champion 2015
FIFA Team of the Year 2015
Ballon d’Or Finalist 2015
FIFA Club World Cup Champion 2015
Best American Player from La Liga December 2015
Copa del Rey Champion 2014/2015
Copa del Rey’s Top Scorer - 7 goals
La Liga Champion 2014/2015
Champions League Champion 2014/2015
Champions League Top Scorer - 10 goals 2014/2015
Joan Gamper Trophy Champion 2014/2015
Superclasico de Las Americas Three-Time Champion with Brazil National Team
Bronze Boot – 2014 FIFA World Cup
La Liga’s Vice-Champion 2013/2014
Copa del Rey’s Vice-Champion 2013/2014
Spanish Supercup Champion 2013/2014
Joan Gamper Trophy Champion 2013/2014
FIFA Confederations Cup 2013
Golden Ball – FIFA Confederations Cup 2013’s Best Player Award
Bronze Boot – Top-Scorer runner up of FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 – 4 Goals
Best Player of the Paulista Championship 2013
Paulista Championship Team of the Year 2013
Top-Scorer Runner-Up of the Paulista Championship 2013 - 12 Goals
Paulista Vice-Champion 2013
Best American Player of 2012 - El País Journal
American Team of the Year 2012 - El País Journal
Mesa Redonda Trophy – Best Player of the Brazilian Championship 2012
Mesa Redonda Trophy – Best Brazilian Championship Striker 2012
Armando Nogueira Trophy 2012 - SporTV and GloboEsporte.com
Globolinha de Ouro Prize – Most Beautiful Goal 2012
Hors Concours Golden Ball - Revista Placar and ESPN Brazil
2012 Golden Boot - Revista Placar & ESPN Brazil
Brazilian Championship Best Team 2012 – CBF
Brazilian Olympic Prize (COB) 2012 – Football
Superclasico de Las Americas Two-Time Champion with Brazil National Team
Recopa Sudamericana Champion 2012
Best Recopa Sudameticana Player 2012
Silver Medal – London Olympic Games 2012
Libertadores Top-Scorer 2012 - 8 Goals
Libertadores Team of the Year 2012
Three-time Paulista Champion 2012
Paulista’s Top Scorer 2012 - 20 goals
Paulista Championship Best Player 2012
Paulista Championship Team of the Year 2012
- Puskás Prize – Most Beautiful Goal of the Year 2011
- Best American Player 2011 – El País Journal
- Bronze Ball – 3rd Best FIFA Club World Cup Player 2011
- FIFA Club World Cup Vice-Champion 2011
- Golden Ball – Best Brazilian Championship Player 2011 – Placar Magazine and ESPN Brazil
- Silver Ball – Brazilian Championship Team of the Year 2011 – Placar Magazine and ESPN Brazil
- Golden Boot 2011 – Placar Magazine and ESPN Brazil
- Armando Nogueira Trophy 2011 - SporTV and GloboEsporte.com
- Brazilian Olympic Prize (COB) 2011 - Football
- Brazilian Championship Best Player 2011 - CBF
- Brazilian Championship Team of the Year 2011 - CBF
- Libertadores Best Player 2011
- Superclasico de Las Americas Champion with Brazil National Team
- Ginga Esporte Interativo Prize – Most Beautiful Goal 2011
- Ginga Esporte Interativo Prize – Best Player of the Season 2011
- Libertadores Top-Scorer Runner-up 2011 - 6 goals
- Libertadores Champion 2011
- Paulista Championship Best Player 2011
- Paulista Championship Team of the Year 2011
- Paulista Two-Time Champion 2011
- South-American Sub-20 Top-Scorer 2011 - 9 goals
- South-American Sub-20 Champion with Brazil National Team 2011
- Brazil Cup Top-Scorer 2010 – 11 Goals
- Brazil Cup Champion 2010
- Paulista Championship Team of the Year 2010
- Paulista Championship Best Player 2010
- Paulista Champion 2010
- Paulista Championship Rookie 2009
- Vice-Champion Paulista Championship 2009