March 12, 2012 by Grayson Turner
Despite being the world’s most popular sport, as an American I’ve noticed that some people perceive quality football to be monotonous. However, regardless of one’s level of passion for the sport I’ve found that a particular aspect of football fails to raise eyebrows. This aspect is flair. Even if one of my friends isn’t a football fan, if I show them a video of skillful football trickery, it’s something they realize is special and it impresses. Everyone loves seeing something done that defies expectations and as football fans, I’m sure we can all agree that nothing satisfies our appetite for flair like a good rainbow flick or a cryuff turn.
Flair is relevant when talking about a particular footballer, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior. This footballer caught my eye in a video compilation I saw that depicts his prowess with a football. At 20 years of age, this young man already possesses talent that blows minds and allow him to dance past defenders.
Currently playing for Brazilian club Santos, Neymar was snatched up at the age of 11 and has been a part of the club ever since. Quickly rising through the youth ranks, he debuted for Santos’ first team at the age of 17. Despite a 14,000 signature petition, Neymar was omitted from the 2010 World Cup squad for Brazil.
However, it’s not the past that is article-worthy for Neymar, rather the future that holds so much for this young Brazilian star. Taking into account his age, and the caliber of team he plays for, his numerous achievements should hold even more weight in the eyes of fans and, hopefully for Neymar, the eyes of top managers around the world. Rather than making the claim that Neymar’s future is bright, I would go further to say that the future of football is Neymar.
The debate of who is the best footballer in the world is overplayed and everyone has their own answer so I wont chime in on that but whoever holds that title won’t hold it for long or at least not comfortably in my opinion. This is because of the up-and-coming Neymar. Close study of his style shows a youthful zeal and a bit of brash inexperience. His blistering speed and agility along with his adept feints and tricks allow him to slip around defenders with ease. However, he still lacks the stats of a true clinical finisher.
Boasting 87 goals in 166 appearances for Santos since 2009, Neymar’s tally is nothing to shake a stick at but if Neymar is to be considered one of the greatest ever then his composure in front of goal needs to improve.
Another aspect of Neymar is his respect. This is why he is my favorite player. Not a single game goes by without players flopping dramatically to the ground or some uproar at referee decisions. Neymar seems to be an exception to the norm as he keeps a level head and rarely reacts to the plethora of mistimed challenges that occur due to his unpredictable moves. If every player conducted themselves as Neymar does then respect banners wouldn’t wrap around pitches and many a yellow card would be left in the referees pocket.
I, for one, am extremely excited to see how Neymar’s game changes as he hones his shot and brings consistent finishing into his repertoire of footballing skills. I think it will only be a matter of time before he is moved to a team that matches his skill. And when that happens, no football accolade will be safe from Neymar’s expanding honors sheet which bears the likes of the Golden and Silver Ball awards for Best Player in Brazilian league, and Best Forward in Brazilian league respectively.