For someone so young, Neymar Jr has racked up an impressive catalogue of accolades. From record-breaking contract fees to two-time turn out in a World Cup for his country, here are a few of the Vogue Man Arabia cover star’s career moments that have made sporting history.
1. Early Days at Santos
Neymar Jr rapidly became the name on everyone’s lips after moving up the ranks to the Santos first team in March 2009. His first goal delighted fans a month later, but he had to wait a year for his first major trophy – the 2010 Campeonato Paulista. An accumulative 14 goals across the competition tested Neymar’s nerve and in tying the two-legged final 5-5 on aggregate, Santos took the trophy and added value to Neymar’s earlier goals. Though the Série A title ultimately went to Fluminense in 2010, that year saw Neymar turn out his first hat-trick, smashing three past Goiás Esporte Clube inside the space of just eight minutes to turn a 1-1 draw into a 4-1 victory.
2. FIFA World Cup Debut
Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which took place in Brazil, a 22-year-old Neymar was roundly considered the ‘one to watch’. However, his World Cup debut was sadly cut short when a knee in the back, from Columbia’s Juan Zuniga in the quarter-finals, fractured a vertebra in his spine. While his home nation failed to make the final, Neymar had done more than enough to prove himself worthy of the iconic yellow shirt.
3. Champions League Winner
On 6 June 2015, Neymar scored the third goal for Barça in the 3–1 UEFA Champions League final to defeat Italian champions Juventus at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, ensuring the club took its fifth European Cup. The victory made Barcelona the first club in history to win the treble of domestic league, domestic cup and European Cup twice.
4. World’s Most Expensive Player
In 2017, Neymar transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a move worth an unprecedented €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever.