The Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. and Neymar Jr. are highlighted in The New York Times journal
The Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. and the player himself were highlighted in the pages of the renowed journal The New York Times. The article demonstrates the INJr during the Olympic period and also writes about NJr's road to the much wanted Olympic Golden Medal in football. Below you can check out the text:
On Field and in Hometown, Neymar Tries to Change the Narrative
By JERÉ LONGMAN AUG. 6, 2016
Children playing at the Neymar Jr. Institute, located in the neighborhood where the star grew up.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
PRAIA GRANDE, Brazil — A Summer Games for children held its opening ceremony here Friday at the Neymar Jr. Institute, founded by the Brazilian soccer star who has accepted two Olympian responsibilities.
The more public one involves the Rio Games, where Neymar, 24, will try to restore Brazil’s flagging soccer esteem. The country most synonymous with the sport has won five World Cups but never an Olympic gold medal. An opening 0-0 tie against South Africa on Thursday did nothing to heal lingering trauma from a devastating 7-1 loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup, a national shame that even Neymar’s mother can refer to only euphemistically as “the situation.”
But Neymar is also attempting to resuscitate his ravaged childhood neighborhood in Praia Grande, a coastal city an hour outside São Paulo. The area surrounding his youth institute is beatifically called Garden of Glory, but it is a poor and dangerous community troubled by drugs, prostitution and a lack of good schools and jobs.
Neymar spent $6 million of his own money to build the institute. CreditUeslei Marcelino/Reuters
The facility, with its classrooms, turf fields and high white walls, opened in December 2014, a few blocks from where Neymar once lived on B Street, playing soccer on a road that was not yet paved. He spent more than $6 million of his own money to build the institute, in addition to securing sponsors, officials at the institute said.
Each day, before school or after, 2,400 boys and girls ages 7 to 14 come at no cost for two hours. They read and write and work on computers and study English, Spanish and Portuguese. Older children come at night. Parents are invited, too, for vocational training.
A dentist and doctors are available. On Wednesday, 32 children were given eyeglasses free of charge, officials said. And dozens rehearsed for Friday’s ceremony, twirling ribbons in the colors of the Olympic rings and preparing paper flags representing 78 countries.
During the Rio Games and the Paralympics, the boys and girls will participate in a mini-Olympics featuring soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming and judo. But institute officials stressed that this is a facility for developing opportunity, not athletes.
The white house is where Neymar was raised. CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
“It is not a soccer school,” said Altamiro Bezerra, the institute’s finance director. “Neymar’s family wants to change the conditions here and give these children the basics: health and education and hope. When you are young, you need to believe in the future, that there is something good in the end.”
Away from this neighborhood, where Neymar lived from about 7 to 13, he has a more complicated relationship with Brazil.
He is one of the world’s best players, elegant and cunning, immensely popular with his 55.9 million followers on Instagram. Playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in a fearsome front line at the Spanish club Barcelona, he won a European Champions League title in 2015 after beginning his career at Santos, the Brazilian club made famous by Pelé.
And yet, while wearing the yellow, green and blue of Brazil’s national team, Neymar is also a reminder of elusive success, even in his absence.
Children playing chess at the Neymar Jr. Institute. About 2,400 boys and girls ages 7 to 14 attend programs studying computers and languages — English, Spanish and Portuguese. Adults can get vocational training.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
He was not chosen as an 18-year-old for the 2010 World Cup, when Brazil fizzled in the quarterfinals. He sat out with a broken vertebra in his back when Brazil lost to Germany in the semifinals in 2014. And at Barcelona’s request that he play only one tournament this summer, he vacationed during the Copa América Centenario in June. Without him, Brazil was ousted in group play and the team’s coach, Dunga, was fired.
Recent off-the-field news about Neymar has also not always been flattering. In March, the Brazilian news media reported that he had been found guilty of tax fraud by a federal court in Rio in a case related to contracts with Santos, Barcelona and Nike. According to the reports, he was ordered to repay about $52 million in fines and back taxes. He has said he paid all the taxes he owed.
After being grilled by reporters about his partying with celebrities during the Copa América, Neymar said it was his business what he did on vacation. Tartly, he asked reporters: “Imagine you’re 24 years old, earning what I earn and having all that I have. Wouldn’t you be the same as me?”
An Olympic gold medal would give Neymar a prize that even Pelé does not have. But Neymar also may need to deliver the gold to reaffirm his status as a superstar athlete and product endorser, said Milton Neves, a sports commentator at the Brazilian TV network Bandeirantes.
Children play soccer, the country’s enduring passion, on the institute’s turf fields, surrounded by high white walls. CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
“Neymar needs to win the Olympic gold medal more than the Brazilian team needs to,” Neves said.
Soccer gold may be the most coveted prize for Brazil at the Rio Games, but it is only one of 28 sports, and it is not the spotlight event that it is at the World Cup.
The men’s Olympic tournament is for players under 23 years of age, with three older players permitted on each team. Unlike the World Cup, Thursday’s opening match did not inspire people nationwide to leave work and gather in their yellow shirts and jerseys. Few sat at beach bars here, or in nearby Santos, to watch the game. Brazil could not muster a goal, even though South Africa played short-handed after one of its players was ejected with 30 minutes remaining.
“For us, the draw is a defeat,” Neymar told reporters.
The Olympics arrive with Brazil engulfed in political and economic crises. Even a close friend of Neymar’s, Ciro Lopes, said he would not open his bar in Santos early for Thursday’s afternoon match.
“With the economic crisis,” Lopes, 51, said, “people don’t have money.”
At the Neymar Jr. Institute, Ana Paula dos Santos made the sign of the cross Wednesday as she came to deliver an Olympic T-shirt to her granddaughter. If Brazil wins soccer gold, “it would cleanse my soul,” she said. “I could sleep peacefully.”
Neymar playing in Brazil’s opener against South Africa, a scoreless tie. CreditCelso Junior/Getty Images
She was referring to the 7-1 loss to Germany two years ago, Brazil’s biggest defeat ever in the World Cup. The match, when it is spoken of at all, is simply referred to in dreary shorthand by its score: Sete a Um.
Nadine Goncalves, 49, Neymar’s mother and the chief executive of his youth institute, said that as she watched that match at home with her injured son, she could see questioning in his face along with shock and sorrow: “What if I was there? Would I have been able to change what happened?”
More than a match was lost that day. A brightness about Brazilian football dimmed, along with a certainty that flair and improvisation could always overcome an opponent’s technical and tactical resistance, said Flavio de Campos, a professor of the sociocultural history of soccer at the University of São Paulo.
“People pinned their hopes on this magic thing that we believe our soccer has,” de Campos said.
Many, probably most, Brazilians believe that an Olympic gold medal would come nowhere close to redeeming the embarrassment of the 2014 World Cup.
Fans watched the final minutes of Brazil’s first game of Olympic play on Thursday.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times
“Erase 7-1? Never,” Nilson Luiz de Marco, 56, said as he stood near the Neymar Jr. Institute. “The only way is if we play Germany again and win 7-1.”
Germany is also playing in the Olympic tournament, which could give Brazil a chance at an emancipating victory, or — shudder — another stunning defeat. If that happened, Bezerra, the Neymar Institute official, said with gallows humor, “let’s move to Germany.”
The children at the institute seemed far more excited about the mini-Olympics than any outcome at the actual Olympics. Guilherme Sousa Gomes, 9, said: “This place is safe. Outside it’s not safe. There are a lot of robbers walking around.”
Giovanna Moreira Andrade, 10, said her mother got a job showing other women how to apply makeup after taking a vocational class at the institute. Her life had gone “from worse to better,” she said. Her family has bought a barbecue grill, and she dreams of a pool.
Tania Franco contributed reporting