As Neymar celebrates his 30th birthday today, we present five things that most people don’t know about him.
Brazil star Neymar is one of the most renowned football players in the world through his flashy ball kills and bizarre fashion sense. He is easily one of the most recognizable faces anywhere.
The 30-year-old began his career at Santos before sealing an €88.20 million transfer to Barcelona in the summer of 2013.
A successful four years went by at Camp Nou, where Neymar won La Liga twice and the highly coveted Champions League. Two third-place finishes in the Ballon d’Or came because of his performances in Catalonia.
Neymar then sealed a world-record €222 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. While injuries have hampered his progress since then, he has remained popular with fans.
So here we give you 5 things you may not already know about Neymar.
He scored 100 goals before the age of 20
As a youngster in his native Brazil, Neymar showed a lot of promise and had Europe’s biggest clubs queuing up for his services.
He broke into the Santos first-team at just 17 years old and took only a week to bag his first senior goal.
In 2011, a 19-year-old Neymar helped Santos win their first Copa Libertadores since 1963.
But the achievement that truly stood out during his relatively short career in Brazil was scoring his 100th professional goal in 2012. It came on the 5th of February 2012 against Palmeiras, which was the day of his 20th birthday.
The Brazil international has since scored over 300 goals for club and country and become one of the most productive players in the world. For this reason, thousands of betting fans place a bet on Neymar’s goalscoring abilities match by match. Would you like to try it out for yourself? Then check out Indiana sportsbook promos and place a bet on Neymar scoring a goal in his next match for PSG.
West Ham tried to sign Neymar first
Out of all the European clubs interested in Neymar, it was West Ham United who made an official bid first in 2010.
The Hammers offered Santos €15m to sign the promising 18-year-old amid rumored interest from Chelsea. However, the Brazilian club rejected the offer and the one after that.
“We received an offer from West Ham for Neymar, worth €15m,” confirmed club director Pedro Luiz Nunes via Daily Mirror. “Our position is clear, we do not open negotiations. These athletes only leave the club by paying the release clause.”
Although it was a futile bid to begin with as Neymar hadn’t appeared for Brazil at international level. Therefore, he wasn’t eligible for a work permit in England.
Santos rejected bids from Manchester City and Chelsea a year later despite matching Neymar’s release clause. He eventually ended up at Barcelona in 2013.
First player to score in UCL and Libertadores final wins
As we already know, Neymar was a key member of the Santos team that won its first Copa Libertadores since 1963 in 2011.
The Brazilian won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for his performances and finished third in the scoring charts on six goals.
One of those goals came in the 2-1 final victory over Uruguayan giants Club Atletico Penarol in a two-legged tie.
Then four years later, Neymar won Europe’s biggest club competition in the Champions League with Barcelona. The Blaugrana comfortably beat Juventus 3-1 in the final itself in Berlin following goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, and Neymar.
While the latter’s goal allowed him to become the first player to score for a winning team in both the Champions League and Copa Libertadores finals.
Fastest Olympic goal in history
RT XHSports: Brazil 6 Honduras 0 – Neymar scores fastest Olympic goal in history as hosts thrash surprise semi-fin… pic.twitter.com/Y8vAvVgXDf
— World Network (@WorldNetwrk) August 17, 2016
Neymar made Brazil’s 2016 Olympics squad for Rio and starred on route to the final itself.
The then-Barcelona player impressed all football fans immensely with his eye-catching talents. However, he saved his best feat for the semi-finals against a helpless Honduras.
He took only 15 seconds to break the deadlock in that match as Brazil stormed to a stunning 6-0 victory. That broke Canadian women’s star Janine Becker’s record of scoring inside 19 seconds against Australia.
At 24, Neymar was one of three over-aged players in the Brazil squad.
After missing out on Olympic glory in 2012, however, he returned to captain the national side to gold on home soil four years later. Neymar even scored the winning penalty in a 5-4 shootout win over Germany in the final itself.
Right foot is 0.5cm bigger than his left foot
One curious detail about Neymar that you may never have heard of before now is that his left foot is half a centimeter shorter than his right one.
Although this ‘deformity’ probably makes his brilliant footwork all that more impressive for us. It clearly hasn’t hindered him from becoming one of the world’s most talented football players.
The 30-year-old is actually very skilled in using both of his feet having scored countless goals with both of them.