How Neymar Turned Soccer’s Most Costly Star and Most Puzzling Paradox


PARIS—Ever since Neymar was a spiky-haired teenager in southern Brazil, massive swathes of the soccer economic system have been invested in making him a famous person.

He was the prodigy who shot to fame with Santos, earlier than two of the richest golf equipment on the planet spent a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to safe his companies. He had a serious


endorsement that put his face on billboards across the planet. And he was the face of Brazil’s residence World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympics two years later.

However in 2020, Nike parted with its one-time golden boy following an allegation by a Nike worker that he had sexually assaulted her on a promotional journey to New York,  in response to folks acquainted with the matter and paperwork reviewed by The Wall Road Journal. Neymar denies the allegation, which is fake, a spokeswoman mentioned.  

Soccer golf equipment, sponsors, and officers world wide lengthy considered Neymar because the inheritor obvious to the sport’s reigning kings, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. That a lot was confirmed in 2017 as Neymar turned the most costly participant in soccer historical past. Paris Saint-Germain had paid FC Barcelona $262 million for his contract, greater than doubling the earlier world switch report. 

But for all of the hype that has surrounded him since childhood, Neymar, now 29, has by no means fairly cleared the impossibly excessive bar that was set for him.

The child who had inherited Brazil’s No. 10 jersey from Pele, entered the 2014 World Cup generally known as a paradox: his standing as a blinding playmaker was matched solely by his fame for diving to deceive referees on the slightest contact. Neymar’s match was then reduce brief when he sustained a fracture in his again within the quarterfinals. The one silver lining was that the harm saved him from taking part in on one among Brazil’s most humiliating nights, the 7-1 defeat to Germany within the semis.

“We endure strain in all the issues we do,” Neymar wrote in an e mail to The Wall Road Journal in 2014. “It’s regular in life, however if you happen to’re an athlete, this strain is larger since you are an instance for many individuals. I endure strain since I made a decision to grow to be a participant, nevertheless it’s a pleasure for me to play a World Cup in my nation to my folks.”

Neymar spent the subsequent few years of his profession rebuilding his picture. He gained the 2014-15 Champions League with Barcelona and led a nationwide catharsis for Brazil on the 2016 Olympics as the house staff took the boys’s soccer gold medal in a bouncing Maracanã Stadium. By then, his profile was world sufficient that sponsors have been trotting him out courtside at NBA video games and setting him as much as take batting observe with the New York Mets, which he did on a Nike publicity tour in 2016.

Greater than merely being one of the well-known gamers on the planet’s favourite sport, Neymar additionally had one thing that Messi and Ronaldo didn’t. By being just some years youthful, he was a star for the social media age. With 151 million Instagram followers, he counts 66 million extra than LeBron James. He additionally has a loyal following on the streaming platform Twitch, the place followers go browsing in droves to look at Neymar play videogames.

However on the pitch, Neymar nonetheless felt he was in Messi’s shadow. 5 years after becoming a member of Barcelona, his first membership in Europe, for $117 million, he made a shocking leap from Barcelona to Paris in 2017. He felt the time was proper to take middle stage. And in Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar discovered a keen companion: a Nike-sponsored membership whose ambition is fueled by the bottomless assets of Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund.

“With such an exceptional participant, you’ll be able to’t inform him there’s already a staff there and that he must adapt,” PSG’s supervisor on the time, Unai Emery, informed France Soccer. “You need to create the staff for him. In any other case, he wouldn’t come—that’s for positive.”

Not solely was Neymar the game’s most costly participant. He was additionally now on the middle of a challenge that touched the head of world soccer, world branding, and the geopolitics of the Gulf. Besides that the sport’s prime prizes continued to elude him. He hasn’t gained the Champions League since leaving Barcelona, nor has he cracked the highest three in FIFA’s world participant of the 12 months voting since 2017.

Write to Joshua Robinson at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



Recommended For You

About the Author: soccernews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *