Neymar to shine at the World Cup

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Football News

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is adored in his home country.

He is the shining hope for Brazilians at the 2014 World Cup in their country and he has been one of the most highly rated talents in the World for some time now.

His face adorns countless billboards in Brazil - SportsPro even named him the most marketable athlete in the World in 2012 and 2013.

However, in Europe a lot of people have refused to believe in the expectation surrounding Neymar.

The popular refrain - “Yeah he is good, but is he that good?”

Even a rivetingly wonderful performance in the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 - a tournament which included World and European Champions Spain - failed to fully convince people that he is as good as the hype surrounding him.

A mega-money move to Barcelona has given him the opportunity to play with one of the best football clubs in the world.

A chance to play with players of the caliber of Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi.

Neymar won everything with his former club Santos including the Copa Libetadores in 2011.

His start with Barcelona has been steady rather than spectacular; the acclimatisation to a switch from South America to Europe being only natural.

An expertly executed nutmeg helped him score in the El Clasico, a contribution that will have endeared him to the local fans.

And now a two-month injury lay-off for Messi has put Neymar in the spotlight.

Things were not exactly going well, with losses to Ajax and Bilbao putting pressure on Tata Martino and his team.

But in the last two games Neymar has caught fire - a hat-trick against Celtic, then a brace against Villarreal - a couple of small steps taken to convince the non-believers, although it is dubious to imagine that Neymar even cares about what Europe thinks.

Universally tipped for greatness by people in Brazil, including Barcelona legend Ronaldinho, Neymar’s biggest motivation will not be to ‘live up to his hype’.

His biggest motivation will be to triumph at the World Cup in his home country.

Neymar’s performances until now in international football suggest that he can be a truly great international footballer rather than just a serial winner at club level.

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