[dc]T[/dc]he story of Neymar is magnificent and spectacular in almost everyway you view it. We the spectators have been privileged to view his remarkable play. Now, at the young age of 19-years-old he is the youngest player ever to be eligible for Fifa World Player of the Year (FIFA Ballon d’Or). From a list of 23 players, he is the only player who doesn’t play in Europe. So what was the path of this soccer jewel?
As a youngster, Neymar lived in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, and was studying at one of Brazil’s terrible public schools. Needless to say this wasn’t conducive for a young player’s cognitive and mental cultivation, much less for his family’s peace of mind. Neymar’s coach at the time Fino, from Portuguesa Santista, asked the principle of a private school, Tio Gil, to sponsor a young soccer star and the family so the kid can continue to evolve in the sport. Neymar and his sister received scholarships to the private school and Neymar’s path to stardom was forming.
Like so many great Brazilian soccer players, Neymar started his career on the court, not a field. Neymar played Futsal, a Brazilian style indoor game played with a very hard size-three soccer ball, which doesn’t have much bounce to it. Futsal is played on basketball courts and is said to help with ball skills.
At the private school he received accolades and press reviews for his ability with the ball during a tournament sponsored by a local television station TV Tribuna, affiliated with the network Rede Globo (Brazil’s NBC for example). Even though his team came in second place in the tournament, the most valuable player was not a doubt to anyone, Neymar. The next year they were champions.
During his time at school Neymar also attained respect from his teachers. They all say the same of their famous pupil. “He was fun, energetic and everyone enjoyed his presence. He was not a trouble-maker and he was always respectable and did his best in school.”
However, the only teacher who had a “hard time” with Neymar was, Mateus, the physical education teacher. In 2005, Neymar studied in the morning and practiced with Santos Futebol Clube in the afternoon, so he never showed up for the school soccer practice. The kids from the school complained Neymar never came to their practice. So one day Neymar was allowed to “skip” practice with the professional squad Santos, to practice with his school team. At that practice Neymar put the ball in-between players legs, put the ball over players heads, and made several goals. After that day, no one ever complained of his absence again.
His school days didn’t last long, by 16-years-old Neymar had already debuted as a professional for Santos Futebol Clube. Today Neymar is a world soccer icon, and while some still question his greatness, coaches and captains from around the world who nominate the Fifa World Player of the Year, undoubtedly agree; Neymar is one of the best players in the world. His brilliance is so overwhelming, he doesn’t need to step foot in Europe to prove his genius. Only by watching him on TV the professionals know, Neymar’s name will live forever in the history of Fifa.
PS: We look forward to you playing in Europe next season, as you will gain vast experience in the best leagues and clubs of the world.