Neymar Jr.

Photo: Clint Spaulding

Neymar Jr., a forward for the legendary French football club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team, is often compared with Pelé. He is the most expensive athlete on the market today, and ESPN named him as the world’s fourth-most famous athlete in 2016.

Neymar Jr. began his professional career with the Santos club when he was 17 years old, helping them win two Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and a Copa Libertadores. In 2011 and 2012 he was named the South American Footballer of the Year. He joined Barcelona’s Barça team in 2013, and he and his teammates (including Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez) won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League.

In 2015 Neymar Jr. came in third place for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for world’s best men’s football player. He began playing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017. Neymar Jr. is the fourth-highest scorer for the Brazil national team. He was key to Brazil’s victories at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, for which he was the leading goal scorer, and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball award for player of the tournament. In 2016 he was captain of Brazil’s team during their first Olympic gold medal win.

In 2014 Neymar Jr. established the civil nonprofit organization Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. (INJR) in Praia Grande, where he lived for many years. INJR provides sports and educational activities, medical and dental care, and professional courses and lectures for underprivileged children and their families. Today, INJR serves thousands of boys and girls between seven and 17 years old and their families. The project is maintained through Neymar Jr’s own resources, plus donations and partnerships with private organizations.

At the age of 24, Neymar Jr. became HANDICAP International France’s ambassador at UN headquarters. The NGO assists disabled people in developing countries and those that have been hit by natural disasters. The athlete is always helping social causes, through organizations like Make-A-Wish or donating autographed items to help institutions.

In 2014 Neymar Jr. contributed to the Abril publishing company’s “Atitude Abril” campaign for HIV prevention, testing, and elimination of stigma. The campaign tackled topics around themes such as sex, technology, behavior, stigma and much more.