42 interesting facts about Neymar: became a father at age 19, named the most marketable athlete in the world

Neymar is a Brazilian soccer prodigy who has played for FC Barcelona since 2013. Here are 42 interesting facts about this soccer sensation.

  1. His full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.

  2. . He inherited his name from his father, who is a former footballer and became his son's advisor as Neymar's talents began to grow.

  3. Neymar was born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil.

  4. He played futsal and street pickup games growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and began his career playing for Santos's junior team when he was 11.

  5. Real Madrid missed out on signing him on. Neymar flew to Spain when he was only 14 to join the Spanish side. He passed all of the tests and was ready to make the move official before Santos paid a hefty price to keep him in Brazil.

  6. In 2003, Neymar moved with his family to São Vicente, where he began playing for youth side Portuguesa Santista.

  7. Neymar joined the Santos Academy in 2003 where he perfected his skills.

  8. He was the top scorer at the 2010 Copa do Brasil tournament with 11 goals. In 2011, he helped Santos win its first Continental Double since 1963.

  9. Neymar was just beginning to showcase his skill in 2010 when an English team took notice. That club was surprisingly West Ham. They quickly made a bid of £12 million for the Brazilian but were turned down immediately. It was this bid that drew eyes to Neymar on a worldwide level as Chelsea then took interest before other clubs joined the transfer frenzy.

  10. Neymar is the only Brazilian soccer player to have graced the cover of TIME magazine. In fact, the only other Brazilians to find their way on the cover have been political leaders.

  11. In 2010. Neymar debuted a Mohawk-style haircut, which quickly became popular among younger fans.

  12. In 2010, Neymar scored five goals in a victory against Guarani in the Brazilian Cup.

  13. With all of Neymar's hype and talent, he actually came fairly cheap for Barcelona. The Brazilian is the ninth-most expensive purchase in the club's history at only 57 million euros.

  14. .The striker will get $74 million in salary over five years, $13 million of which is a signing bonus.

  15. He became a father to little Davvi Luca when he was 19 years old. Neymar has refused to reveal the identity of the mother to 'protect her and the child'.

  16. Neymar scored his 100th professional goal on his 20th birthday in 2012 and finished the year with a career-best total of 43.

  17. Neymar dated the Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine for around a year; they split up in February 2014.

  18. Despite making dramatic headways into the footballing spotlight, Neymar was overlooked by Dunga for the National team squad flying to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, even after Pele and Romario pitched for his inclusion.

  19. Neymar won the South American Footballer of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012.

  20. In 2012, he was featured on the cover of the Pro Evolution Soccer video game along with Cristiano Ronaldo.

  21. In 2012 he scored a hat-trick for Brazil in a friendly against China.

  22. He is 5′ 9″ tall (about 1.75 metres).

  23. In 2012 and 2013, SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world.

  24. In December 2013, Neymar was ranked by The Guardian as the sixth best player in the world.

  25. He is known for his acceleration, speed, dribbling, finishing and ability with both feet. His playing style has earned him critical acclaim, with fans, media and former players drawing comparison to former Brazil forward Pelé, who has called Neymar "an excellent player", while Ronaldinho states "he will be the best in the world".

  26. He is an evangelical Christian and attributes his faith for the source behind his humility and grounded nature. "Life only makes sense when our highest ideal is to serve Christ!" he said in an interview.

  27. His footballing idols are Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

  28. Neymar Jr. is being touted by his homeland as the face of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

  29. He is also the spokesmodel and spokesperson for several products including Castrol, Police sunglasses and L'Oreal who released the cologne, Drakkar Noir by Neymar.

  30. Neymar was the seventh-richest footballer in the world in 2012 according to Forbes.

  31. Neymar has become an icon in promoting Brazilian modern pop music, particularly Música sertaneja. The video in which Neymar dances in the Santos locker room dancing in front of teammates and making them dance to the tune of Michel Teló's hit "Ai se eu te pego!" carrying his recorder making the round of the players went viral.

  32. He's also known to make surprise stage appearances at Brazilian concerts, to the delight of a screaming teenage audience.

  33. In November 2012 advertising agency Loducca, created Neymar's own personal brand logo, featuring the N, J and R (Neymar Junior) with the N styled to match Neymar's shirt number 11.

  34. In May 2013, he was named as the most marketable athlete on the planet by the SportsPro magazine. He topped the list over other world renowned athletes like Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rory McIlroy and Lionel Messi.

  35. Controversy erupted because of a cover by Brazilian football magazine Placar that depicted Neymar on a cross. The title read "A Crucificação de Neymar" (the Crucifixion of Neymar) and subtitled: "the Brazilian ace turns scapegoat in a sport where everyone plays dirty".

  36. To mark the World Cup commencing in Brazil, in June 2014, Neymar appeared with supermodel Gisele Bündchen on the front cover of Vogue's Brazilian edition.

  37. In 2012, he made cameo appearances in the music video for yet another sertanejo hit "Eu Quero Tchu, Eu Quero Tcha" by João Lucas & Marcelo.

  38. In 2013, Neymar appeared on a rap music video "Pais do Futebol" from MC Guime.

  39. His fans even have their own name for themselves: Neymarzetes. Once, rumor has it, Neymar's security guards had to lock him in an airport toilet to keep him from a stampede of Neymarzetes.

  40. Neymar primarily plays as either a forward, winger or occasionally as an attacking midfielder and has been described as "a true phenomenon". He often plays as a striker for both club and country in the team's 4-3-3 formation and drifting occasionally onto the flanks due to his energetic pace and playmaking skills.

  41. In 2013 he was awarded the golden ball for his performance in the Confederations Cup

  42. Neymar is the 11th-highest scorer of all time for the Brazilian national team.

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