The scorer of four goals so far at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Neymar is known the world over for his tricks, flicks and dribbling skills. As A Seleção’s master dribbler prepares to face Colombia in Friday’s quarter-final, the latest step in his bid to bring his country its sixth world title, FIFA.com goes back to the roots of the quicksilver forward.
Our tour of the Brazil No10’s childhood begins on Rua B, a gently sloping street in the neighbourhood of Jardim Gloria in Praia Grande, a coastal city near Sao Paulo. The young Neymar was known among the local street-football fraternity as the atacante da descida, or the “attacker at the bottom of the slope”, a nickname he earned for his propensity to linger at the lower end of the street in his insatiable quest for goals.
On the way we meet one of the first people to see him as a rough diamond and believe in his ability to make it big one day. Another of the characters we meet in our enlightening video is the man who cut his hair as a boy, who talks of his world-famous Mohican, a hairdo he describes as “being in the Beckham style, only more radical”.
Our final destination is Praia Grande itself, where the Barcelona and Brazil star lived in an underprivileged area. More than aware of the problems the local community faces, he is now putting something back and trying to make life easier for its residents.
Watch our revealing video of these and other stories about the early days of A Seleção’s main man at Brazil 2014.