Neymar is set to become the next big superstar at Barcelona, though few people have actually seen him play.
The 21-year-old Brazilian recently signed a five-year deal to play for the Spanish giants for a transfer of €57 million. Fans are excited about the possibilities of an attack that features Neymar and Lionel Messi, as well as one of the best midfields in the world.
It only took a few minutes after arriving in Barcelona before the young player was swarmed by media and fans at the airport:
Still, most of this excitement is based on reputation and YouTube highlights. He has had little opportunity to face elite competition on a big stage at this point in his career, so few fans have been given a chance to watch him in action.
Additionally, this could also be a concern based on the jump in competition to La Liga. Playing for Santos FC in Brazil is not quite the same as the top European leagues, and Neymar did not compete in the 2010 World Cup.
To make matters worse, Brazil's automatic qualification for the 2014 World Cup as the host country has removed a great deal of competitive matches that would take place over this time. Instead, he has been relegated to international friendlies, where the atmosphere is not quite as intense.
Fortunately, the Confederations Cup gives the player a true chance to showcase his ability against some of the best squads in the world on an international stage.
In the first match of the tournament, it only took three minutes for Neymar to impress those watching with a fantastic goal against Japan.
This was not his only contribution to the match. He also displayed great quickness and passing ability to help his squad earn a 3-0 victory. He came out after 74 minutes of play, but WhoScored.com gave him the second-best rating of the match at 8.28, trailing only teammate Marcelo Vieira.
As ESPN noted, he is already living up to the hype:
Is Neymar living up to the hype? Yes.— ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2013
How many goals will Neymar score next season?
The competition will only continue to get tougher in the coming days, as Brazil has fixtures against Mexico and then Italy. If the squad continues to win, it could face a top opponent like Spain in the knockout phase.
Based on his play in the early going, Neymar should continue to be successful. As more people watch, the hype will continue to grow.
Fans were already excited to watch the forward next season at Barcelona. However, a successful showing at one of the toughest tournaments in the world will have people believing that he is truly ready to succeed right away.
By the time he plays his first match for his new club, the expectations will be through the roof. Hopefully, the young player is able to live up to his potential.
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