Brazil Olympic Soccer Team: Why All Eyes Will Be on Neymar
One of the globe's most in-demand players, both in the media column inches and in the transfer market, will have the eyes of the sporting world upon him over the coming weeks as Brazil's Olympic side gets ready to launch an offensive on the gold medal of the men's football tournament.
A fine showing in the pre-tournament friendly against England has the neutrals begging to see more of this talented side.
Brazil will be looking for their first-ever gold medal in the sport at the Olympics, despite their fine heritage and success in other major tournaments.
Here are five reasons why Neymar will be key to any success and why the eyes of the world will be upon him.
Transfer Market Value
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Already rated as a £30 million-plus player in the transfer market, Neymar's real worth could shoot up even further with a stellar showing at the Olympics.
The biggest names in world football, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, are monitoring him closely. It could be that his club sells him at the very top of his hype if he makes a big name for himself in this tournament.
For the clubs themselves, they might have been delaying a bid for the forward while waiting to see how he performs on the big stage out of his comfort zone in the Brazilian leagues.
One of the biggest reasons to watch Neymar is simply his ability on the ball.
Dribbling, pace, strength, vision and cool finishing ability—he has the quality to be a match-winner on his own at any moment of the game.
This goal illustrated in the video gives just one fine example of how all those attributes can come together, but Neymar has been making similar plays for his club for some time now.
For those who love to watch exciting incidents and moments of genius, Neymar will be the star attraction at the Olympics.
Those Controversial Moments
Then there are those who will be watching to see the other, less impressive side of Neymar's game.
Already having garnered a reputation as somewhat of a diver, Neymar's theatrics are caught in all their majestic nonsense in this video—and there are plenty more out there.
Neymar can certainly be a big star in whichever country he moves to after leaving Santos, but he will court controversy and attract negative press if he continues with this kind of manoeuvre.
Brazil Is Always a Favourite and Is Going for Olympic Gold
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Brazil is undoubtedly the most poetic and exotic name in international football, even with their relatively success-starved recent history and the rise of Spain.
Everyone still wants to see Brazil play "the Brazilian way," if that even still exists.
During the Olympics there will be an expectation on the nation to provide some eye-catching performances, and the burden of this will fall largely on the skillful shoulders of Neymar.
It's not all about him, of course; Leandro Damiao, Lucas Moura, Hulk, Oscar and Ganso amongst others have all made plenty of headlines themselves. However, Neymar is a step above the rest at the moment and will certainly have the most attention on him at the start of the tournament.
Experience and Scoring Ability
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
Experience maybe isn't something you generally associate with a 20-year-old forward, but Neymar is—at full international level with Brazil—one of the most experienced players in the squad.
Only the over-age captain Thiago Silva (28 caps) and fellow forward Alexandre Pato (21 caps) have more appearances for the national team than Neymar, who has already racked up 18 caps himself.
He is also the top scorer of the Olympic squad, hitting nine goals for Brazil.
Pato has seven, Hulk has only three and full-back Marcelo has four.
Neymar will certainly be key in the final third to any hopes of winning that the Seleção may have.