Not many people can get away with just being known by one name, but Neymar de Silva Santos Junior has achieved that rare feat and earned his global reputation under the name Neymar. As one of football’s most exciting players, Neymar is known for his versatility on the pitch, but also for the incredible trajectory of his career.
Born in Brazil in 1992, Neymar started playing football when he was just a child, encouraged by his father who was a former professional footballer. His talent emerged early as he joined street games and played five-a-side before joining the Portuguesa Santista youth team and enrolling at the Santos FC youth academy.
By the age of 14, Neymar had attracted international attention and received an offer from the Spanish team Real Madrid after a successful trial. He stayed on at Santos, playing for them from 2009, scoring an average of one goal every two matches and playing a large role in the team’s Libertadores Cup win in 2011.
Move to Europe
After winning the South American Footballer of the Year contest twice in a row, in 2011 and 2012, Neymar signed for FC Barcelona in 2013 for $76 million, one of the most expensive transfers in the history of football. Barcelona certainly got their money’s worth as the team went on to win a prestigious treble comprising La Liga Championship, a Copa del Rey title and the UEFA Champions League.
Neymar scored 105 goals in 186 matches for Barcelona but was slightly overshadowed by his teammate Lionel Messi who was being hailed as one of the greatest football players ever. This was one of the reasons he moved to French club Paris Saint-Germaine in 2017, in another extraordinarily high-value transfer fee of $263 million.
Not only was Neymar the face of the team at Paris Saint-Germaine, but he also made headlines as the highest-paid footballer in the world, earning $53 million per year. His team won a series of high-profile games to complete a quadruple win in the 2019-20 season and Neymar celebrated the 400th goal of his career in November 2021.
The future of Neymar
In May 2021, Neymar signed a contract with Paris Saint-Germaine that lasts until 2025 and he has also proved himself on the international circuit, playing for Brazil’s national team. Since Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi joined PSG, Neymar has been part of a three-pronged attacking formation that has been hugely successful for the team.
However, there have been some rumours about a potential transfer away from PSG with many pundits speculating that his recent injury record might make him a risky prospect. His former agent is reported as saying that he doesn’t expect Neymar to leave PSG, but there is always the possibility that he will receive an offer that he cannot refuse.
This is particularly true given PSG’s financial position which could be precarious enough to make Neymar’s wages a stretch. If they are unable to afford to keep him, they may have to sell him on, although there is still speculation about where he might go.
Meanwhile, Neymar’s international career has also seen him achieve some impressive successes: in 2021, he became Brazil’s top scoring player in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, netting twelve goals including one against Peru. 2022 sees him preparing for the World Cup in Qatar, but there are also rumours of him retiring from the national team once the contest has ended.
Neymar himself has sparked some of the rumours himself by making comments about his future and hinting at a move to Major League Soccer. He has even joked with David Beckham about playing for Miami, citing the shorter season and potential to extend his career as reasons that he MLS appeals.
Other career opportunities
As well as being one of the highest-paid footballers, Neymar is also one of the most extensively endorsed players. He has contracts with a wide range of products from sports clothing to a poker tournament online, all of which have the potential to generate an income for him even if he does decide to reduce his footballing commitments.
His relationship with Nike was long-running, beginning when he was thirteen, four years before he even began his professional footballing career. In 2020, he defected to their competitors, Puma, despite having a deal worth a rumored $105 million to stay with Nike until 2022, suggesting that his new contract was worth even more than that.
It has certainly attracted attention as one of the biggest deals of its kind, with reports suggesting that it exceeded those negotiated by his team-mates Messi and Ronaldo, both of whom have a reputation for being among the best-paid players of all time.
Neymar also has professional endorsement deals with Beats Electronics, Red Bull, and Gillette and his net worth is thought to be around $220 million.
Given his career history as one of the highest-paid and most valuable players in the world, Neymar is likely to want to maximize his footballing income before he retires from the game to pursue other interests. His history as one of the most endorsed players in the world could stand him in good stead when it comes to negotiating any post-football deals
His incredibly successful career has earned him a reputation that will allow him to continue to generate a significant income even once he has hung up his boots, with many areas still to conquer such as the lucrative entertainment industry.
Leave a Comment