Neymar is a Brazilian football player who plays for FC Barcelona. He started playing football early in his life and joined the Santos football team - where he played for a while - before being transferred to FC Barcelona where he has been to date. He also plays for the Brazilian national team and has played both in the World Cup and Olympics. His skills are not only confined to the pitch. He has also made different appearances on television shows as himself.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, commonly known as Neymar Jr. or just Neymar, was born in Mogi das Cruzes to Nadine da Silva and Neymar Santos Senior. His father was a footballer and became his advisor after Neymar started his career. He moved with his family when he began playing for Portugesa Santista in Sao Vicente in 2003, close to the move to Santos FC in the same year. He played for the youth league and earned a significant amount at is age, enabling him to buy the family their first property when he was barely 15-years old. He was upgraded to the Santos first team at 17 when he signed his first professional contract and started signing sponsorship deals as well.
Neymar started his professional career with Santos FC in 2003 when he joined their youth academy. In 2006, he joined the Real Madrid youth team and later made his debut in March 2009. He scored his first goal against Mogi Mirim and scored a decisive goal in the next month to win against Palmeiras. In his first season he scored 14 goals in 48 matches. In the following year, he scored five goals for Santos to win 8-1 against Guarani in the Brazilian Cup qualifying stages. He was crowned the best player in the Campeonato Paulista having scored 14 goals in 19 matches. His brilliant performance for Santos was likened to that of Robinho and Pele.
In 2010, West Ham United offered a £12 million deal to Santos for Neymar’s transfer but Santos rejected it. Neymar refused to move, a decision that shocked many people but endeared him to the hearts of Brazilians, deeming him patriotic. This move, or lack thereof, made Neymar one of the most sought after footballers in Brazil. He got many endorsement deals and his face was plastered over almost every billboard in Brazil advertising one thing or the other.
In his second season Neymar had an impressive 42 goals in 60 matches. There was an apparent problem in his attitude though, and he was seen as having a penchant for diving when tackled, instead of continuing to run. This caused him many problems, one being the sacking of the Santos manager, after he had awarded the penalty kick to another player for Neymar’s foul. Although Neymar apologized, the incident still left lingering doubts about his attitude.
In 2011, Neymar played for Santos against FC Barcelona in the FIFA Club World Cup. In September of the same year, Santos’ president Luis Ribeiro threatened to report Real Madrid who had reportedly tried to sign Neymar in a pre-contract agreement. Neymar and Santos then extended his contract with a 50% increase in wages. He was to play for them until the 2014 World Cup. During his time at Santos, Neymar won a number of awards such as best South American player and Man of the Match in different seasons and tournaments among others. He moved to FC Barcelona in June 2013 after he had played in the Confederations Cup. This move was largely attributed to the World Cup in the following year. People viewed Neymar’s lack of international experience as him being a traitor – they needed his A-Game once he was in the national team playing the world cup.
Neymar debuted as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Lechia Gdarisk in July 2013. At Barcelona, Neymar has had many achievements. He scored his first competitive goal against Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of the Supercopa de Espana in 2013. He started out in the UEFA Champions League in September where they won 4-0 in their opening match for the tournament. In October he helped beat Atlético de Madrid 2-1 in his first appearance at El Classico. In the next year, 2014, he scored two goals leading Barcelona to a 2-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao.
In 2015 he scored the last goal against FC Bayern Munich in a 3-0 win that won Barcelona the first leg of the Champions League semi final. In the second leg he scored both goals in a 3-2 defeat securing Barcelona’s eligibility for the 2015 UEFA Champions League final. He later scored the third goal for Barcelona in a 3-1 win against Juventus. This secured Barcelona their fifth European Cup, making Barcelona the first club to secure the treble: domestic league, domestic cup and European Cup twice.
In addition to club involvement, the World Cup and different league participation, Neymar also participated in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics where he and the national team won gold medals.
Neymar has the public image of a handsome yet believable person. Unlike other celebrities, he interacts with people and has taken a few bold steps, including refusing to move to West Ham United and opting to play in Brazil in Santos. That earned him a spot as one of the most patriotic players as he took a move that most other players had not before. Playing in Europe and the major leagues is one of the dreams of any professional footballer, so his decision to turn down the deal endeared him to Brazilians and earned him major endorsements with different companies in Brazil. While he was beginning his career, he had girl fans that used to visit the stadium with placards asking him to “impregnate” them.
He openly professes his faith, stating that Kaka is his religious role model. He says that his life is worth nothing if it not lived in service to God. He also tithes 10% of his earnings to the church. Neymar is actively involved in charity work. He organizes a yearly charity match and participates in others to raise money for different causes. He is not all looks and money, he is also a philanthropist.
Neymar has also taken an active role in promoting Brazilian pop music. He has performed some dancing antics after scoring goals as a response to his video in support of Musica Sertaneja; he walked around the Santos locker room with a recorder dancing while eliciting a response to Michel Teló’s hit ‘Ai se eu te pego!’ from the other players. He appeared with Teló in his concerts after the video went viral. He also supported Gustavo Lima, a singer by performing live with him in renditions of his hits ‘Fazer Beber’ and ‘Balada’. Additionally, in 2012 he made a Cameo appearance for João Lucas & Marcelo in their hit ‘Eu Quero Tchu, Eu Quero Tcha’.
In 2014 a spectator threw a banana at Dani Alves, a Brazilian soccer player in Barcelona during a match. Dani picked up the banana, peeled and ate it. Neymar posted a photo of him eating a banana next to his toddler holding a toy banana with the hashtag #WeAreAllMonkeys as a response to racism, something that he had experienced during different matches as well. This cemented his role as a sport personality who is not afraid to speak out against racism. It spurred an online campaign with other famous personalities posing while eating a banana and using the hashtag.
While the start of the campaign looked like a spur of the moment, it had actually been planned for a long time. Neymar and his team wanted to speak out against racism especially when it happened during sports, but they did not have the opportunity. Neymar had been a victim of a few incidences which led to the desire to kickstart the campaign. When the spectator threw the banana at Dani who then picked it and ate it, it provided the golden opportunity for the campaign to start. Neymar has a professional team that is in charge of his public image as a result of some mishap in the beginning of his career. He maintains a professional yet down-to-earth demeanor because of the team as well as his likeable personality which many got to see firsthand, even before he got the team. Neymar has many online photos that are not professionally shot. He goofs about, takes selfies and uses his social media to keep his fans updated as well as to live his life.
Neymar has a son, Davi Lucca, with former girlfriend Carolina Dantas. He became a father at 19, stating that at first he was scared but then he was overwhelmed with joy at the birth of his son. He adores the boy although he and his mother are no longer an item. He also enjoys a very close relationship with his sister, Rafaela Beckran. The two acknowledge the close relationship and went as far as sealing it in ink. Neymar has a portrait of his sister tattooed on his forearm while Rafaela returned the gesture by inking her brother’s eyes onto her body as well. Neymar enjoys a close relationship with his father who is also his advisor. He has been quoted saying that his father is very important to him as he is the one who takes care of the finances and the family, easing the burden to allow him to concentrate and play as best as he can.
Earlier in his career, Neymar had gotten accustomed to a party life, with one of the detriments being that he swore at his coach during a match and was sent off the field. He later got a publicity team to help him cope with what to portray and how far to go because many were worried about his attitude. It seems to have improved because the player has not been in the media for negative personal reasons for a while. However, the negative publicity that has surrounded him and his father are the different allegations of tax fraud that lead to court proceedings which culminated in the beginning of 2016.
In March of 2016 Neymar was found guilty of tax fraud by a Brazilian administrative court. He was found guilty for unreported earnings from 2011 and 2013, whose source was identified as Barcelona. E was ordered to pay an equivalent of $51.74 million in penalty, interest and back taxes. Neymar had another run in with tax fraud charges in 2013 after his transfer to Barcelona from Santos. Santos suspected a raw deal and filed court papers to see the details of the transaction but Neymar and his father claimed no wrongdoing. While Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell resigned over the allegations, Neymar was unaffected. It was, however, noted that there was an irregularity in the earnings reported. The administrative court in 2016 noted that negotiations for Neymar’s transfer begun before 2013 and there were payments made out to Neymar’s father’s company disguised as other payments in order to avoid reporting and catering to tax obligations. This ruling has left a stain on the player’s reputation. He might face criminal charges on the same in Brazil as well as in Spain. Neymar appealed the court ruling.
As is with other celebrities and high profile personalities, Neymar has had his share of controversy both on and off the field. Recent stories circulating the media were that there were nude photos leaked from his phone. The photos included in the article seemed to refer to nude portraits in a museum although it caused an uproar on the internet. While the story is rumored to be false, it still generated a buzz because of the public’s penchant for celebrities and scandalous stories.