Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, popular known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and the Brazil national team. Junior is widely considered among the best players in the world.
Junior came into prominence at Santos, where he made his professional debut when he was 17 years. Junior helped the club to win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil and the 2011 Copa Libertadores – The latter being Santos’ first since 1963. He was named twice the South American Footballer of the Year (2011 and 2012). He was relocated to Europe to join Barcelona. He won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, as part of Barcelona’s attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez and also finished third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or (2015) for his performances. Junior then attained a domestic double in the 2015 and 2016 season. In 2017, he was transferred from Barcelona to PSG in a move worth €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever. He won three league titles, a Coupe de France and a Coupe de la Ligue in France, (included a domestic treble and being voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year, in Junior’s debut season).
He is the 3rd highest goalscorer for Brazil, trailing only Pelé and Ronaldo, with 61 goals in 101 matches for Brazil since debuting at the age of 18. At the 2011 South American Youth Championship, he was a key player in his national team victories, where he finished as a leading goalscorer. In 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Junior won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. Neymar’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América was cut short by the injury and also suspension, respectively. Though the following year Junior captained Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in men’s football at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The two years later, he featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior was born 5th February 1992, in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo.
Junior is the son to Neymar Santos Sr. and Nadine da Silva. Junior inherited his name from his father (former footballer) and became his son’s advisor as Junior’s talents began to grow. He comments on his father’s role that his father has been by his side since he was little. His father takes care of things, his finances and his family. He combined his love of futsal with street football, while growing up. Junior said that futsal had a massive influence on him growing up, which helping him develop his technique, speed of thought and ability to perform moves in the tight spaces. He moved with his family to São Vicente, in 2003, where he began playing for youth side Portuguesa Santista. Later in 2003, the family moved to Santos, where he joined Santos FC. The family bought their first property, a house next to the Vila Belmiro, with the success of Junior’s youth career and added income.
It is the name that he uses in his career which was picked from his full name, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Brazil star Junior has had a peculiar habit of being sidelined with injury during the time of his sister Rafaella Santos’s birthday. His fans have been quick to pick up on the curious pattern, with the Brazil international missing matches around this time for few years ago. Her birthday falls on March 11th and Junior has been either injured or suspended for games surrounding that game since the 2014 and 2015 season.
At an early age, he began playing football and soon was spotted by Santos FC who offered him a contract in 2003. Junior was inducted into their youth academy, which has produced Brazilian internationals such as Coutinho, Clodoaldo, Diego, Elano, Alex among others in the past. Junior also joined the likes of Pepe, Pelé and Robinho in starting out his career at the club, where he was nicknamed Peixe. He met Paulo Henrique Ganso, becoming good friends in the process while in the youth academy. When Junior was 14 years, he travelled to Spain where he joined the Real Madrid youth team, at the time when Real had the stars such as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Robinho among others. On 7th March 2009, he made his professional debut at the age of 17 where he was brought on for the last thirty minutes, in a 2–1 win against Oeste. He scored his first goal for Santos FC against Mogi Mirim the following week.
On 11 April, a month later, Junior scored the decisive goal in a 2–1 win against Palmeiras in the 2009 Campeonato Paulista semi-final first leg. However, Santos suffered a 4–2 aggregate defeat to the Corinthians in the final. He racked up 14 goals in 48 games in his first season. Santos announced that they had received two offers for him On 24 May 2013. Junior announced, the following day, that he would sign with Barcelona on 27 May 2013 and join after playing in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. He was unveiled, on 3 June 2013, by Barcelona after passing medical tests and signing a contract that would keep him at the club through June 2018. Junior was presented at the Camp Nou in front of 56,500 fans, a record turnout for a Brazilian player. The Club vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu initially said his transfer fee was €57.1 million while his release clause set at €190 million. Barcelona’s doctor suggested Junior might need to gain weight to be able to cope physically in Spanish football.
Barcelona announced, on 3 August 2017, that his legal representatives made a payment of €222 million to the club, equal to the release clause of Junior’s contract, which constituted one of the most expensive transfer ever. In Spain, the release clause must be activated by the footballer himself according to the BBC. The fee was paid to the club directly, this situation was unusual, after La Liga had refused to receive the payment. The buyout clause is usually deposited with La Liga in order to release a player from his contract, and then the league passes the amount to the selling club, however, La Liga rejected the payment—citing violation of Financial Fair Play rules by PSG, who are backed by the amount from Gulf state Qatar. He joined French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on a contract that would run till 2022. Junior was offered the number 10 jersey by Javier Pastore as a welcome gift.