Neymar Named Golden Ball Winner for 2013 Confederations Cup
In what will surprise few, Neymar has won the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2013 Confederations Cup.
FIFA announced on Twitter the winners of the individual awards. Spaniard Andres Iniesta won the Silver Ball with Neymar's teammate Paulinho winning bronze.
The award caps off what was a great tournament for Neymar. Not only did he lead Brazil to the title, he did so in beautiful fashion. The poor defense was a negative, as was the diving. Otherwise, Neymar was a colossus in this tournament and did everything right.
There was a lot of pressure on the 21-year-old winger coming into the tournament. For years, people have been hearing about this Brazilian wonder-kid. Now that he's moved to Barcelona, those fans want to see what the big deal is about.
Neymar has delivered and then some. He scored in each of Brazil's three group stage matches. Then, he had a large role in the two goals that lifted the Selecao above Uruguay in the semifinal. In the final, Neymar scored with a thunderous left-footed shot from close range.
OptaJoe pointed out how impressive a run Neymar has been on over his last nine matches.
7 - Neymar has now scored seven goals in his last nine games for Brazil, including four at the 2013 #Confeds so far. Wonder.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 30, 2013
FOX Soccer Trax has a list of the major award winners.
Confed Cup award winners! Player of the Tournament: Neymar (Iniesta 2nd, Paulino 3rd). Best keeper: Cesar. Golden Boot: Torres.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 1, 2013
Spain is now awarded the Fair Play trophy. Iker Casillas collects it, and he is applauded warmly by this crowd.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) July 1, 2013
With Neymar as the engine, Brazil now looks like it can be the country to upend Spain and end its run of dominance.
The Confederations Cup will only get fans more excited for the World Cup in one year's time. In the meantime, they'll just have to settle for Neymar and Lionel Messi playing on the same side for an entire league season.
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