Brazil v Honduras London 2012 Men's Olympic Football Tournament
Olympics - Brazil v Honduras London 2012 Men's Olympic Football Tournament Quarter Final - St James' Park, Newcastle - 4/8/12 NEYMAR - Brazil
He’s only 22, but already, Neymar is being hailed as the next great striker to emerge from Brazil. In his short career, he has earned multiple accolades, gained a high-profile move to join Leo Messi at Barcelona, and gained the respect of the great Pele. Join us as we take a look back at the highs of this young man’s extraordinary career.
Professional debut with Santos, March 7, 2009
Already a star when he was elevated to the Santos first team at 17, Neymar needed only two games to score his first goal for the senior team, netting against Mogi Mirim. A product of the famed Santos Academy, Neymar had been snapped up despite a huge bid from Real Madrid back in 2003.
Copa Libertadores, June 22, 2011
Neymar would score the opening goal as Santos downed Penarol 2-1, picking up man of the match honors on the way. It was the club’s first Copa Liberatores championship since 1963 and the glory days of Pele.
Brazil senior debut, August 10, 2010
Neymar would make an immediate impact with the national team, scoring a goal on his debut in a friendly against the United States at Giants Stadium. Brazil would coast to a 2-0 win.
Puskas Award for Goal of the Year, 2012
Neymar collected his first Puskas award for a sensational solo goal scored in a Santos loss to Flamengo, a 5-4 thriller. Neymar ran a give and go, then dribbled through four defenders in an incredible display of skill to finish past a helpless keeper to the lower left corner.
South American Footballer of the Year awards
Neymar was named player of the year by a record margin after a campaign that had seen him lead his team to Copa Libertadores glory and the runners-up slot at the Club World Cup. It would be the first of back to back awards for Neymar, firmly establishing him as a player at the level of Diego Maradona, Zico or Pele.
Olympics with Brazil, 2012
Brazil were heavily favored to win it all in London, but in one of the great upsets, lost to Mexico in the finals. Neymar shone, however, scoring three goals in the tournament including a 25-yard free kick against Belarus in the group stage.
Hat-trick in Copa Libertadores, March 7, 2012
On the same day that Lionel Messi made world headlines by scoring five goals in a single Champions League game, Neymar tried to equal the Argentine’s feat, scoring as sublime hat trick against Internacional to topple their rivals 3-1.
2012 Campeonato Paulista Champions, voted Best Player
Neymar led Santos to the Paulista championship last season with a league high 20 goals, earning him a slot in the league’s Best XI and the Player of the season award. Santos finished third on the Paulista League standings, but would win the playoffs by downing Mogi Mirim, Sao Paolo and thumping Guarani 7-2 in the two-leg finals.
Best player at the 2013 Confed Cup
Despite the pressures of playing in front of a home crowd with huge expectations on his shoulders, Neymar led Brazil through the Confederations Cup, earning himself the Golden Ball award as the tournament's outstanding player. Aside from dazzling with four goals - including one in the final - Neymar added creativity to a side that had been lacking it of late, and wowed fans as Brazil rolled through the competition.
A new challenge
After proving himself on the international stage during the 2013 Confederations Cup, Neymar took what many fans saw as the final step to fulfilling his potential: moving to Europe. Signing with Barcelona, Neymar joins one of the most talented rosters in the world, and looks set for a remarkable season with his new club.
Neymar's first season with Barcelona has been up and down, but on December 11, 2013, the Camp Nou stage was all his. In a 6-1 Champions League win over Celtic, Neymar scored three goals in just 13 minutes for his first Barcelona hat trick. The other highlight of his still very short Barcelona career? Scoring the deciding goal in the Spanish Super Cup against Atlético Madrid, his first trophy in Europe. There are sure to be many more to come.