Before they were stars
Ever wondered what your favourite sportspeople were like before they were super-mega-famous? Every week Tokyo 2020 will give you a glimpse into what life was like for some of the world’s greatest athletes before they were stars.
- Name: Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, 'Neymar Jr.'
- Age: 28
- Nationality: Brazilian
- Profession: Football player
Neymar had only just turned professional in 2009 but his outstanding talent ensured he was expected to become a Brazil football legend.
What has he achieved?
Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. was born in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo in 1992. His father was a footballer, so the sport has always been a part of his DNA.
The Brazilian club Santos was the first to give him the chance to play top-level football and he took the opportunity with both hands. By the age of 17, Neymar was already the star of the team.
In 2013, the young footballer signed for FC Barcelona. After winning two Spanish league titles, three Copas del Rey as well as a Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, he left Barcelona to join his current team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). In Paris, he has won three league titles and continues to be one of the league’s most important players.
Neymar’s record for his national team is also an impressive one. His first major title was the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. And having dealt with the disappointment of losing the London 2012 Olympic Final, Neymar gained his revenge in 2016 when he won the Olympic crown on home soil.
Neymar’s talent as a striker is unquestionable, but among all the goals that he has scored in his career, there is one that made him a record breaker.
Neymar scored the fastest goal in Olympic history after just 14 seconds in the Rio 2016 semi-final match against Honduras.
It stands as just one example of his propensity to find the back of the net. In 2018, he scored one of the fastest ever braces in Champions League history, with two goals in just 158 seconds against Serbia's Red Star Belgrade.
What is he up to now?
Just a week ago, Neymar won the League Cup and the French Cup with PSG, having already wrapped up the league title in a season shortened by COVID-19.
He now aims to add to his titles with victory in the Champions League, starting with this week’s (12 August) opponents' Italian side, Atalanta.
The Brazilian maestro has also stated his intentions to defend his Olympic title next year at Tokyo 2020. Will Neymar be able to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals?