Neymar Will Cement Elite Status with Dominant Performance Against Spain

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJune 29, 2013

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  Neymar of Brazil looks on during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Semi Final match between Brazil and Uruguay at Governador Magalhaes Pinto Estadio Mineirao on June 26, 2013 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

All that is left for star Brazilian attacker Neymar to complete his dominant Confederations Cup, is a strong performance against Spain in the championship match on Sunday. 

That performance would undoubtedly come to the delight of the hosting Brazil fans. It would also make them giddy over their chances in next year's World Cup, which Brazil also hosts. And they should be giddy. Neymar is proving that Brazil will have the hope that comes along with having one of the world's best players. 

Heading into the Confederations Cup, no one was doubting Neymar's talent. The 21-year-old had flashed his prodigious skill while playing with Santos and while helping lead Brazil’s under-20 squad to win the South American championship in 2011. 

However, it's not like stellar performances for Santos and in U-20 competitions is enough to vault a player into the realm all-time greats like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And when it came to playing with the senior international side, Neymar and Brazil have been nothing but underwhelming as of late. 

This has all changed now. 

As far as proving himself with his club, Neymar will have all the opportunity in the world to do that next year. He made the jump to Barcelona and will now be playing with and against the best in the world. 

In fact, as fate will have it, Neymar has a chance to make a lasting impression on as many as nine of his future teammates when Brazil lines up to take on Spain in the final. And that is exactly what he is going to do. 

Neymar has been in stellar form at this tournament. He is tied with Fred for the team lead in goals at three, and he has two assists to go with it. He was voted "Man of the Match" for Brazil's first three games in Confederations Cup play, and he was stellar against Uruguay in the semifinals. 

This has all transpired in front of the delighted Brazil fanbase. It wasn't that long ago that Brazil, Neymar included, was being booed for lackluster performances by their fans. 

On Sunday, Neymar will silence those boos for a long time. 

Spain has looked like their typical selves in this tournament. They are winning by playing smart, making quality passes and dominating possession. 

However, they were largely outplayed in the semis against Italy, and it wasn't until penalties that they escaped with the win. That match highlighted a few weaknesses in Spain, and it also wore them out. 

With the seeds of fatigue sapping their opponents legs and the raucous support of the Brazilian fans, Brazil will find some cracks in the Spain attack and create scoring opportunities. To finish off those opportunities will be the present future of Brazil soccer, Neymar. 

This tournament will be marked as the undeniable rise of a superstar.