The FIFA Confederations Cup is finished, but it looks like Neymar is just getting started.
Neymar, Brazil's budding 21-year-old superstar, capped his brilliant Confederations Cup showing with another goal Sunday as Brazil stunned Spain 3-0 in the final in Rio de Janeiro. For his impressive efforts over the two-week event, Neymar was awarded the Golden Ball Sunday as the tournament's best player.
In addition to his goals, the young striker was a constant source of entertainment, enthralling fans with his determined runs and mazy dribbles. Exhibiting strong shooting skills with both feet, great composure in the area and an uncanny ability to deliver accurate passes to team-mates in tight spaces, the Brazilian is also the only player to have earned four Budweiser Man of the Match awards since the beginning of the competition. He is a worthy winner of the adidas Golden Ball award.
Worthy indeed. Neymar finished with four goals, all of which lived up to his already lofty standards. In addition, he assisted Paulinho's winner against Uruguay in the semifinals and thrilled fans with a skillful move to set up another goal against Mexico in the group stage.
All four of Neymar's goals from the Confederations Cup appear in the video above. Enjoy—and then tell us this: Which was his best?
Was it the long-range volley against Japan, which was the tournament's first goal? Was it the volley against Mexico? The free kick against Italy? The blast past Iker Casillas in the final?
You could make a case for any of the four, which is bad news for defenders in Spain's La Liga next season. Neymar is set for his first European season with Barcelona, and if his performance at the Confederations Cup was any indication, he'll be a hit in Catalonia.
Then it's on to the World Cup, which starts in less than a year in Neymar's native Brazil. After winning the Confederations Cup title with Neymar in inspirational form, the Seleçao could rank among the favorites for glory next year.
"It’s a massive step forward for the team, and we are delighted to have achieved it," Neymar told FIFA.com after beating Spain in the Confederations Cup final. "It was a great game between Brazil and Spain, one that the whole world stopped to watch, and we know that we played a fantastic match."