Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior completed his dream move to the Catalonian giants for a club record €55 million in May 2013. There was rampant speculation regarding Neymar’s future in the previous years, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea all considered the hot favourites to bring ‘The next Pele’ to Europe.
Neymar had showered praise on both Messi and Barcelona on many occasions. After a 4-0 loss to Barcelona in the Club World Cup in 2011, the wunderkid of Santos was adamant to stay in Brazil until the World Cup on home soil in 2014.
But Barca club President Sandro Rosell offered Neymar a deal too good to refuse; the opportunity to play alongside his idol Lionel Messi and become the best player in the world.
Does Neymar have what it takes to claim Lionel Messi’s mantle as the best player in the world? Here are 7 reasons that suggest he will:
1. Neymar thrives on Pressure
Carrying the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, starring in big matches and Papparazzi following his every move. Neymar is thriving under unprecedented public pressure, all at age of 21. This proves that he will be able to handle the tag of world’s best player.
2. The Messi Comparisons are already there
Pace, precision dribbling and South American flair. Neymar possesses a similar skillset to Messi and the comparisons to the reigning king of football have already been there for years.
3. Real Madrid already know it
After missing out on bringing Neymar to the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid broke the transfer world record spending €100 million to purchase Welsh Wizard Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur. Will Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale be able to compete with the Lionel Messi and Neymar partnership?
4. World Cup Champion 2014
To the excitement of Barcelona fans, Neymar was voted player of the tournament at the 2013 Confederations Cup. The 21-year-old led Brazil to glory against reigning World Champions Spain. If he can lead Brazil to World Cup glory on home soil in 2014, he will be well on his way to becoming the best in the world.
5. He is just 21 Years Old
Although Neymar is just 21 years old, he is already regarded among the top players in the world. The skilful Brazilian has a reputation for scoring spectacular goals and always delivers in big matches. Neymar has time on his side in his quest to become the best.
6. You are only as good as those around you
Training with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and co every day using Barcelona’s tika-taka style is bound to improve Neymar’s overall game.
7. The next Pele
Pele has officially crowned Neymar as ‘The new Pele’ and tipped him to become the best player in the world.
So, do you think Neymar will overtake his idol Lionel Messi? Leading his country to World Cup glory on home soil in 2014 will be a perfect way to start.