By Josh Powell
Brazilian super-star Neymar is preparing for the 2012 Olympics surrounded by talk of a move away from Santos. The 20-year-old has had astonishing success in his short career and has that uncanny knack of scoring bags of goals.
The stats are mind-blowing and it is no surprise that people are comparing him to the likes of Messi and Pele. Are the comparisons justified or is it just plenty of people checking out his goals on YouTube and joining in they hype? After-all don’t forget when Bebe came to Manchester United someone made a great YouTube compilation of his goals and then it turns out he was really crap.
Well, the stats tell part of the story. In 186 games for Santos Neymar has scored 110 goals and assisted 37 more. That’s an impressive record whatever way you look at it. Throw in some step-overs, rainbow flicks, flippy-flops and other ludicrously named silky skills and it’s no wonder he’s drawn attention from the likes of Barcelona and Madrid.
Brazil have never won Olympic gold in the mens football but they are the 6/4 favourites to break that duck in London. Alexandre Pato and Chelsea target Hulk are in the squad and will provide plenty of attacking threat alongside Neymar.
The world will be watching the young star as he tries to keep the attention on his instinct for goal and not his rubbish barnet. This could be the stage where Neymar really thrusts himself into the eye of the public but how will he cope on the international stage?
He’s scored nine goals in 17 games for Brazil which is a good international record, and although he’s knocked in a couple against bobbins teams like Scotland, he’s also found the net against Germany and Argentina. There is no arguing with his success in Brazil but could he really come up with the goods on a cold, rainy night in Stoke? That’s the real test.