With Ronaldo now having reached 30, it makes you realize that the exquisite football that he and Lionel Messi have been bringing us won’t go on forever. They will both still provide us with breathtaking performances for a number of years to come and show no sign of slowing just yet, but soon it will be time for a new class of players to dominate the big stage. Leading this new class of players is 23-year-old Brazilian star Neymar Jr (who happens to share Ronaldo’s February 5th birthday). Neymar has exploded onto the footballing scene in the last few years, and is already considered by many to be one of the current best footballers in the world. On his day this is difficult to deny, and the future looks very bright for the Barcelona forward/winger.
Coming from such a fine footballing country, it is hugely impressive that he currently sits 5th on the highest goalscoring list for Brazil. His dazzling performances have drawn heavy praise from the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Ronaldinho, with some even comparing his skillset to Pele, who has also praised the young star. Neymar has the whole package; he is quick, possesses fantastic dribbling skills, can pick a pass and he is more than capable of finishing with either foot. Playing at a club like Barcelona and alongside some of the best in the world since joining in 2013 will only help his progress, as will his important role that he plays in the national team.
Despite his young age, Neymar is already one of the wealthiest athletes in the world and also one of the most marketable with an enormous fanbase around the world. We are sure to know a lot more about the Brazilian over the next few years, but here are 15 interesting facts which you may or may not have heard before about Neymar.
15 He became a comic book character in 2013
14 He is the only Brazilian athlete to be on the cover of Time Magazine
13 He is currently dating Spanish lawyer Elisabeth Martinez
12 He was labelled the most marketable athlete in the world
11 On his 20th birthday he scored his 100th professional goal
10 He became a father at just 19 years old
9 He is heavily tattooed
8 The first club to make a bid for him was West Ham
7 He nearly died in a car accident as a baby
6 He initially struggled to break into the national team
5 He won the South American Footballer of the Year in 2011 and 2012
4 He won Goal of the Year in 2011
3 He is on pace to break Pelé’s Brazilian goalscoring record
2 At 23, Neymar has over double the goals Ronaldo had at the same age
As mentioned earlier, Neymar shares a February 5th birthday with Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo reached the big 30, whilst Neymar is seven years his junior at 23. With Ronaldo hitting such a big landmark there has been an enormous focus on what he has achieved so far in his career, and rightfully so, as it has been nothing short of extraordinary. This seems to have eclipsed Neymar’s accomplishments however, and there is one in particular which is worth our attention.
1 His annual income is approximately $32 million
Neymar is one of the best paid athletes in the world, and earns a staggering amount for someone who's just 23 years old. He will get $74 million in salary over five years and also had a $13 million signing bonus when he joined Barcelona. His endorsements for companies like L’Oreal, Police Sunglasses, Gulliver and Castrol also earn him around $16 million, seeing him make around a jaw dropping $32 million for the year with his yearly Barcelona salary at $17 million. Neymar leads a luxurious lifestyle, but his father makes sure he stays grounded and controls his finances by giving him a monthly allowance.
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