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Neymar: Brazilian Phenom Delivers Messi-Like Performance in Win over Belarus

Mike Shiekman@TheRealShiekFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2012

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - JULY 20:  Neymar of Brazil scores a penalty during the international friendly match between Team GB and Brazil at Riverside Stadium on July 20, 2012 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The 2012 London Olympics are looking like Neymar’s coming-out party.

If their qualifying win against Belarus was any indication, the future is now for the Brazil national team and their 20-year-old phenom. Neymar played a part in all three of Brazil’s goals, assisting two and scoring one of his own.

Pele’s comments that Neymar was a more complete player than Lionel Messi caused a stir in soccer circles recently. No. 10’s words don’t seem far-fetched after this brilliant performance.

When the Brazillians were down 1-0 early, they were looking for a spark to regain their confidence. Belarus attacked relentlessly, refusing to take their foot off the gas. Then Brazil’s young star delivered, by setting up his teammate, no less.

Neymar floated a beautiful cross from the left end, outstretching the Belarus defender’s head and only where Alexander Pato could make a play on the ball.

Pato knew exactly what to do with it. Just like that, the match was all knotted up at one.

Could Neymar do anything else for an encore? His squad is full of experienced world-talent, Thaigo Silva and Marcelo among others. Surely the veterans would take the Brazil home to victory.

But as the game got got tighter in the second half with a bunch of close calls from both sides, nobody from Brazil’s leadership had answered the call. It would be Neymar who would shine brighter than anyone else on the pitch.

In the 58th minute, he would put Brazil ahead for good in dazzling fashion—a free-kick outside of the box that soared into the upper 90 and out of the grasp of the Belarus keeper.

By this point, all eyes were square on what the young virtuoso forward would do next. Just for good measure, the 20-year-old star pulled out one more out of his bag of tricks, assisting Oscar in the 90th to seal the victory.

Neymar hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype in Europe thus far, but his phenomenal display at Old Trafford puts that statement to bed. The young man is growing before the world’s eyes, and he’s already staked his claim as one of the world’s most exciting players.

The London Olympics are in full bloom, and so is Brazil’s youth soccer movement.

Neymar is leading the pack already. Who knew?

Pele told you so. 

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