Neymar, a Brazilian soccer player, earned recognition at a young age for his exceptional athletic ability. As a youth, he became a star for Santos FC, earning four consecutive Player of the Year titles and becoming one of Brazil’s most popular public figures.
Neymar moved to Europe to join FC Barcelona for the start of the 2013-14 season, where he quickly established himself as a regular for a club that has won multiple domestic and international titles. After leading Brazil’s men to their first Olympic gold medal in 2016, the star forward moved to Paris Saint-Germain the following year.
Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. was born in Mogi das Cruzes, So Paulo, Brazil, on February 5, 1992. Neymar, the son of a former professional soccer player, grew up playing street games and futsal, an indoor version of the game. He joined the Portuguesa Santista youth club in 1999 and quickly became one of the country’s most highly recognized young talents.
At the age of 11, Neymar joined Santos FC’s youth system. At the age of 14, he was offered the possibility to continue his growth with Real Madrid C.F., but the Santos team’s management reportedly convinced him to stay with a big bonus.
Following in the traditions of Pelé, Neymar made his professional debut with Santos FC in 2009 and lived up to the anticipation by winning the league’s Best Young Player award. He became a full-fledged star in 2010, helping Santos win the league and Copa do Brasil crowns on his way to the first of three consecutive scoring titles and four consecutive Player of the Year accolades. That season, he also made his senior national team debut and debuted a Mohawk-style hairdo, which soon gained popularity among younger fans.
In 2011, the flamboyant attacker scored the FIFA Goal of the Year, propelling Santos to their first Copa Libertadores title in 48 years. However, he began to suffer the blowback that comes with celebrity, such as the media chastising him for fathering a son out of wedlock.
On his 20th birthday in 2012, Neymar scored his 100th professional goal, and he concluded the year with a career-high total of 43. Santos also won their third consecutive league title that year. With his appearance on the March 4, 2013 issue of Time, Neymar became the first Brazilian athlete to grace the cover.
In May 2013, Neymar confirmed his move to FC Barcelona, a powerhouse club that at the time included superstar Argentine striker Lionel Messi and other players of the Spanish national team.
Neymar lived up to his hype with Barcelona, providing the club with yet another remarkable all-around talent. During the 2014-15 season, he scored 39 goals, helping the club win the desired treble by winning the league, domestic cup, and European Cup. The next year, one week after Barcelona won La Liga, he scored in extra time to help the club win the Copa Del Rey for the second time.
Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 after a contentious move and a world record fee of 222 million euros. His time at the French club began promisingly, but he suffered a broken foot that ruined his season after 30 games. The following season, Neymar suffered another foot injury, but he recovered in time to assist his club win the Ligue 1 title.
Neymar, who was already known for his on-field antics, came under fire for his behavior during his second season with PSG. He was suspended for three games in the Champions League after criticizing the officials following a Champions League loss to Manchester United in March. After another defeat the next month, Neymar got into a confrontation with a fan who was abusing the PSG players.
Neymar and teammate Kylian Mbappé gained some traction during the seasons, and expectations skyrocketed when Lionel Messi joined the squad in 2021. PSG, on the other hand, has yet to win the Champions League.
Neymar missed PSG’s August season opener in the French league due to illness to begin the 2023-24 season. The following day, reports appeared about a trade agreement that would send the Brazilian to Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal club. Neymar’s current deal with PSG will expire in 2025.
Brazil National Team
Neymar has been a member of the Brazilian national squad since August of 2010.
He was chastised for his performance in Brazil’s Copa America semifinal loss in 2011. When Brazil lost the gold medal game at the 2012 Summer Olympics to an underdog Mexico team, the young star was once again chastised. Soon after, the wunderkind hushed many of his detractors by leading Brazil to victory in the 2013 Confederations Cup, signaling his willingness to face greater expectations on the international stage.
2014 World Cup Injury
Neymar shone in his home country of Brazil during the 2014 World Cup, but his career was cut short before the finals. On July 4, just minutes before Brazil’s quarterfinal encounter against Colombia, Neymar was carried off the pitch in tears after breaking a bone in his back as a consequence of a challenge by Colombian defender Juan Zuniga. Brazil’s World Cup hopes were crushed when they were defeated 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals, despite the absence of their greatest player.
2016 Olympics and 2018 World Cup
Despite his individual prowess, Neymar faced the question of whether he could lead his teammates to international glory. He was suspended for the 2015 Copa America, thereby ending Brazil’s aspirations of a long run. The following year, he sat out the competition to rest and recover for the 2016 Rio Olympics, a decision that paid dividends: the star player scored three important goals to carry his team forward before converting the game-winning penalty kick to earn Brazil its first men’s soccer gold medal.
The Brazilians faced great expectations once again heading into the 2018 World Cup, but Neymar’s return from a fractured foot wasn’t enough, as a tense quarterfinal match against Belgium ended in a 2-1 loss.
2022 World Cup
Although Brazil won back-to-back Olympic gold medals with a strong performance at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, Neymar was not present to share the glory. PSG denied him competition permission, citing the upcoming Euro 2020 and Copa America events.
Neymar did, however, play for Brazil in the 2022 World Cup. The team matched Switzerland to move from the group round before losing 4-1 to South Korea in the quarterfinals. The European team prevailed in a penalty shootout after a close battle against Croatia. “I am psychologically destroyed,” Neymar shared on social media later. “It is definitely the defeat which has hurt me the most, which left me paralyzed for 10 minutes after the match, after which I burst into tears without being able to stop.”
Neymar is expecting a daughter and has one son, David “Davi” Lucca. Davi was born in August 2011 to Neymar and Carolina Dantas, his ex-girlfriend. Neymar and his girlfriend Bruna Biancardi confirmed their pregnancy in April 2023. They announced their pregnancy in June.