At the age of 19, Neymar won the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year award, after coming third in 2010. He followed this up by winning it again in 2012. In 2011 Neymar received nominations for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, where he came 10th, and the FIFA Puskás Award, which he won. He is known for his acceleration, speed, dribbling and finishing. His playing style has earned him critical acclaim, with fans, media and former players drawing comparisons to Argentine forward Lionel Messi and former Brazil player Pelé, who has called Neymar "an excellent player". He is regarded to be one of the best footballers in today's game and has the potential to be one of the greatest of all time.
Neymar joined Santos in 2003 and, after rising through the ranks, was promoted to their first team squad. He made his debut for Santos in 2009, and was voted the Best Young Player of the 2009 Campeonato Paulista. Further honours followed, with Neymar being voted best player as Santos won the 2010 Campeonato Paulista, and also being top scorer in the 2010 Copa do Brasil with 11 goals. He finished the 2010 season with 42 goals in 60 games as his club achieved the Double. Neymar was again voted best player of the year in 2011 as his side retained the state title and Santos also winning the 2011 Copa Libertadores in which Neymar scored 6 goals in 13 appearances. He also played a key role in securing a Continental Double for his team, Santos' first since 1963. He received the Bronze Ball in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, with Santos making it to the final, where they were defeated 4–0 by Barcelona.
Neymar is a Brazilian international, having represented Brazil at Under-17, Under-20 and senior levels. On 10 August 2010, at the age of 18, he made his debut for the Seleção in a friendly match against the United States; he scored from a header in the 28th minute, contributing to Brazil's 2–0 win. He was the top scorer of the 2011 South American Youth Championship with nine goals, including two in the final, in the 6–0 win against Uruguay, helping Brazil to win their 11th title in the competition.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
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