International Soccer
By Tim Keeble, Soccer Editor - Archive - Email
Olympics offer up big stage for Neymar
Neymar will have the chance to do something that previous greats in Brazil failed to do.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Neymar may only be 20, but like many other famous Brazilian soccer icons before him, one name is all that is necessary.

His name has been on the lips of some of the most powerful men at some of the world's largest clubs for the past couple of years, and it is always attached with a huge amount of money.

Pele said earlier this year that Neymar was better than Argentina superstar Lionel Messi.

Yet for all the considerable hype that surrounds the Santos striker, he still remains somewhat of a mystery.

By plying his trade in his native Brazil with Santos, most fans don't have the benefit of watching him compete in one of the world's best leagues on a regular basis.

And while he has made 18 appearances for Brazil's national team, it is still a very small sample size.

But this summer's Olympic tournament in London will offer fans a chance to get another glimpse of the dynamic young talent as he tries to make history for Brazil.

It may be hard to believe, but Neymar will have the chance to do something that previous greats in Brazil failed to do, and that is deliver an Olympic gold medal.

Names like Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho have all represented Brazil at the Olympic tournament, but none returned home with a gold medal around their neck.

And with a team that includes fellow rising talents like Ganso, Lucas and Leandro Damiao in addition to established veterans like Thiago Silva, Marcelo and Hulk, this summer will provide Neymar with a huge chance to further his case for inclusion among the world's elite talents.

"We've got everything we need to be champions," Neymar told "I think Brazil are always one of the favorites, no matter what the competition. It's always been that way. We've got a very good side too, and players with a lot of potential."

Potential is the main reason why clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid are lining up to throw massive sums of money at the 5-foot-9 striker.

He has already established himself as a lethal scorer for Santos, netting 14 goals in his last 24 league games for the club.

And his profile will only continue to grow with a standout effort at the Olympics that has a real chance to end with Brazil on top of the medal stand.

Beyond that, it appears as though a huge transfer to a European heavyweight is sure to follow, with recognition as the next global icon from Brazil in the not-too-distant future.

The expectations are enormous, but so too is the physical talent that Neymar possesses.

And luckily for the rest of the world, that talent will be on display in London.

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