A footballing prodigy who continues to grow every single season, Neymar Jr aged 25, was born on 5 February 1992 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The talented forward is already thought by many to be the next big thing in world football, after the Messi-Ronaldo era is over.
The Barcelona number 11's career is not an overnight success, let's have a look at some interesting facts from the Brazilian's life.
10. The Cover of TIME Magazine
Neymar Jr. is the only Brazilian soccer player in the history of the game to be featured on the cover of reputed TIME magazine. The cover of the magazine also reads 'The Next Pele', perfectly demonstrating the Brazilian's potential and talent.
9. Most marketable athlete in the world
SportsPro magazine coined Neymar as the 'world's most marketable player' in 2012 and 2013. The talented forward already earns more than 9 million Euros per year with Barcelona, and he is just 25. The dynamic player also has various advertisement deals under his belt.
8. "He will be the best in the world" - Ronaldinho
Fellow countryman and former Barcelona player, Ronaldinho believes that Neymar would surely be the best in the world near future and fill in Leo Messi's boots perfectly. Ronaldinho has always been vocal about Barcelona players and their future in the sport.
7. Comic Character Based on Him
A Batman fan, Neymar Jr. has filled in the boots of fellow Brazilians Pele and Ronaldo, and he has been adapted in a comic book. Leading Brazilian cartoonist Mauricio released a Monica’s Gang comic in April 2013, featuring a baby version of Neymar, named Neymar Jr. in the cartoon, as the main character.
6. Advertising Magnet
Neymar Jr. has signed various advertisement deals with many of the world's biggest companies including Nike, Castrol, Police sunglasses and L'Oreal among several others. The Barcelona star has always been careful about his looks and is currently dating Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine.
5. Neymar became a father at the age of 19
Before dating Bruna, Neymar was in a relationship with Carolina Dantas. The couple had a boy, Davi Lucca when Neymar was 19 and Carolina was 17. They parted ways soon after that and Davi Lucca stayed with his father.
The father-son duo have a very strong chemistry and the former accompanies his father to many matches at the Camp Nou
Hardcore Neymar fans call themselves Neymarzetes! Reports also stated that security officials had to lock Neymar up in a toilet at the airport during a stampede of Neymarzetes. The Brazilian surely has a lot of fan following and receives a lot of love.
3. A Pop Icon
Neymar is an icon in promoting Brazilian modern pop music. He is particularly attracted to Música Sertaneja. The video made a huge sensation on the media when he danced with his teammates in the locker room of Santos FC to the tune of “Ai se eutepego!” by Michel Teló.
That song also reached No. 1 position in 15 different countries and became the first No. 1 in Portuguese song on Billboard’s Latin Pop Airplay chart.
2. West Ham was the first club to make a bid for him
After his skills and success in Brazil, Neymar first came in the limelight when Chelsea showcased interest in the forward but they couldn't meet his asking price.
Later, West Ham were the first club to officially bid for him. However, he had different plans, and eventually signed for his dream club, FC Barcelona.
1. He almost signed for Real Madrid
Barcelona's very own, Neymar Jr. almost signed for eternal rivals Real Madrid CF. His agent, Wagner Ribeiro, who was introduced to him by Betinho, another well-respected agent, was first brought the offer to play for Real Madrid to him.
Real Madrid primarily selected him, after Wagner’s pitching of his CV to them. The officials at Madrid were so pleased by the Brazilian's talent that they wanted to sign him as soon as possible, until Santos came into the picture and offered him a handsome amount of money to stay at the club.