The boy has a wealth of talent, he is blessed with sublime skills, lightning quick feet and a mouth-watering price tag. Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior, or Neymar as he is more commonly known, is one of the hottest talents in the modern game and rightly so.
Having made his debut for Brazilian club Santos – the club of Brazil’s finest Pele - on March 7th 2009 at the tender age of 17, Neymar has already racked up 186 club appearances, finding the back of the net on a staggering 110 occasions.
Neymar has stayed loyal to his Brazilian employers, despite some of Europe’s biggest clubs flirting with the idea of recruiting one of the world’s biggest superstars. Chelsea, Manchester City and Catalan giants Barcelona have all shown major interest in the 20-year-old forward.
However, the Brazilian Serie A doesn’t possess the hard-hitting centre halves, brutal midfield enforcers and world-class goalkeepers that the major European leagues boast. So I guess the big question is, how good is the young Neymar? And how far can he really go?
The petite genius has already been likened to Pele, and many have already branded him “the best player in the world.” Neymar’s style of play is one of explosive pace, quick passing and step-overs galore, so his style seems perfectly adept to grace La Liga. The climate in Spain would provide a more homely welcome than the unpredictable weather here in Britain, while the style of football would probably appeal to the young forward more so than in the Premier League.
In the past many South American players have come to Europe to showcase their talent with mixed results – especially in the Premier League. Chelsea’s new Brazilian playmaker Oscar will be an interesting venture, and it remains to be seen how the youngster will adapt to the pace of the Premier League.
Manchester United in particular have had a hit and miss history when it comes to South American imports. Juan Sebastian Veron and Kleberson both failed to make their impression in a red shirt and were subsequently swiftly moved on. But Anderson and the twins of Rafael and Fabio Da Silva have shown in bursts that the Samba stars can cut it in the tough English leagues. So it’s up for debate whether Neymar would take to the Premier League like a duck to water, or sink like a lead balloon.
On the other hand, there have been a lot of South American players that have provided some of football’s greatest moments when gracing the European stage. The most notable has to be the mercurial Ronaldinho. Having started out with Brazilian outfit Gremio, the maestro moved to French side Paris Saint-Germain before heading to Barcelona and setting the world alight with his mazy runs, superb goals of all shapes and sizes – generally doing everything with a touch of genius.
Neymar has all the tools to emulate Ronaldinho and become the best player on the planet. But it seems inevitable he will have to move away from his beloved Brazil and pursue the challenge of playing in Europe to achieve such a feat. In modern football a player is not only judged by his talent, goal return and skills but also by which league he applies his trade in.
Neymar is good, very good, and many believe he is second only to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi – sorry Cristiano Ronaldo fans. To truly cement his place in the exclusive club of players to be considered “the world’s greatest” the boy must become a man and step up to face a greater calibre of player. I’m sure he would find his ability of dissecting the opposition defence a much tougher feat to achieve when facing defenders like Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Nemanja Vidic.
It seems only a matter of time before we see the young starlet lighting up our television screens on a regular basis and go down in footballing history as an all-time phenomenon.