Brazilian star Neymar
The London Olympics wrapped up four days ago after another fantastic display of talent from around the world. One talent in particular that showed his stuff in London is future Brazilian star Neymar. At only 20 years old Neymar is already a household name amongst football fans. He has shown a knack for finishing, fantastic touch, and great vision.
The problem is, he has been playing for Santos, a top team in Brazil. But that top team would be marginal at best in the big-time leagues. This is the dilemma. It has basically become a matter of time and situation before Neymar gets transferred to play in one of Europe's big divisions.
So did Neymar help or hurt his transfer case in London? I'll take a game by game look at his Olympic run with Brazil.
Game One: Brazil vs. Egypt
Neymar put in a fantastic effort in Brazil's first game of the tournament, a 3-2 win over Egypt. Neymar netted a goal and nearly had two others, just missing a head in in the 54th minute and a shot that just squeaked wide in the 10th minute. He played with solid pace and displayed the pure football instincts that have wowed many teams.
Game Two: Brazil vs. Belarus
This may have been Neymar's best game of the Olympics. He delivered an outstanding performance in Brazil's 3-1 victory over Belarus. While he was slowed down during the first half, Neymar played as if a fire was lit under him for the second half and he went off.
Did Neymar Help or Hurt his Transfer Case at London 2012?
After Brazil quickly went down 0-1 in the eight minute Neymar played a beautiful cross to teammate Alexandre Pato who knocked it in to tie the game up. He also displayed his already-strong free kick ability, knocking one home from outside box. It was gorgeous goal that showed why Neymar's name has become synonymous with future star.
He also set up another young Brazilian star, Oscar, in injury time when he went on a fantastic run and played another great cross to set up the score.
Game Three: Brazil vs. New Zealand
The Kiwis were clearly outmatched in their group stage game against Brazil. This game was just to easy for Brazil. It was also the first game of the tournament in which Neymar didn't notch a goal.
It was still not a bad day for the 20-year-old, who led all players with seven shots—only two of which were on goal, however. Neymar was subbed out in the 76th minute in favor of Alexandre Pato. It was a quiet game to say the least, but not necessarily a bad one.
Result: No Change
Game Four: Brazil vs. Honduras
This was a feisty game from start to finish and upstart Honduras did not go down without a fight. After playing with a man down from the 33rd minute on, Honduras was not able to muster much of anything in the second half.
Neymar got back to his scoring ways, drilling home a penalty kick in the 51st minute. He only had three shots in the game, but two of them were on goal. He again played with a quick pace and put himself in positions to be successful. Another solid performance by Neymar.
Game Five: Brazil vs. South Korea
Brazil came out swinging against South Korea, but they couldn't seem to find the back of the net early on in the match. It took a 38th minute goal from Romulo to get the Brazilians started. Damiao scored Brazil's other two goals as they easily advanced to the finals.
Neymar was not much of a factor in this one. He played the full 90 minutes, but could only muster two shots while committing four fouls. This was a game to forget for Neymar.
Game Six: Brazil vs. Mexico (Gold Medal Game)
Brazil were the favorites to win the Gold Medal at London, as many of their star players were eligible to play in the Olympics U23-style tournament. However, it was Mexico who won the gold 2-1 over the Brazilians.
Neymar played aggressively, to say the least. He had five shots, but he was not able to get any on goal. He played with his usual pace and looked to get his teammates involved, but Neymar and Brazil struggled all game to get in a rhythm.
This wasn't Neymar's worst performance, but I would have liked to have seen more out of him on the biggest stage of the tournament.
Result: No Change
This was a strong tournament from start to finish for the 20 year old Brazilian star. He scored four goals, good for fifth in the tournament. He displayed the quickness, touch, vision, and speed that have many of Europe's top clubs drooling over him. It remains to be seen when he will actually be transferred, but the time is coming soon. The world better watch out for Neymar, because this kid is going to be a star.
Final Result: Helped