How Did Neymar Become One of the Most Popular Football Stars in the World?

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By Warren Brewster

Paris Saint-Germain is playing great this season, and it comes as no surprise considering its superstar squad. According to various betting sites, the team has an excellent chance to win the Champions League trophy this year.

One of the main reasons why PSG is performing so good this year is its leading player Neymar Jr. This Brazilian superstar is one of the most paid athletes in the world, and quite deservedly so. But how did he get there? Where were his roots, and what did his journey to the top of the football world look like?

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Early Years in Brazil
Neymar started playing football since he was a little boy, as his father was also a footballer. He started playing for the youth team of Portuguesa Santista in 1999. In 2003, he moved to Santos with his family, where he spent teenage years.

According to the infographic below, in 2009, he signed first professional contract with Santos, worth $1.7 million a year. Neymar stayed there until 2013.

The Barcelona Era
In 2013, Barca signed Neymar for a whopping €88 million fee. At this time, he was already considered to be one of the most talented players in the world, but he was yet to prove it on the big stage.

Playing alongside Messi and Iniesta, Neymar won the 2015 UEFA Champions League title. He also won two domestic championship titles and cups. During the 4-year stay in Barcelona, he had 123 official appearances and scored 68 goals in all competitions.

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Record-Breaking Transfer to PSG
As his contract with Barcelona was expiring, a lot of big teams were interested in acquiring Neymar. In August 2017, Barca accepted the deal from PSG to sell Neymar for €222 million, which became the most expensive football transfer of all time. He is under the contract with the club until 2022.

In the season’s opening, Neymar scored first goal for PSG in a win over Guingamp. Paris Saint-Germain won the French national championship with Neymar, even though his season was cut short due to an injury.

Brazil’s National Team
Considering that it’s the most successful nation in World Cup history, Brazil had a lot of expectations from the new star. Neymar was the part of Brazil’s U17, U20, and U23 squads, and won two medals at the Olympics. Although his senior national team debut was in 2009, his first World Cup appearance was in 2014.

Many people signed petitions so the national team includes Neymar in the 2010 World Cup team, but he surprisingly didn’t make the cut. He has had a total of 96 appearances and scored 60 goals while wearing the Brazil jersey.

If you want to know more interesting facts about Neymar Jr. and his incredible journey into the world of football, you can do so by scrolling down and checking out the detailed infographic that rounds up his fruitful career.

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