So much can happen in three hundred and sixty-five days.
About a year ago, the biggest and the most anticipated story in the football spectacle was Neymar’s big money move from Barcelona to PSG. It was a transfer that shook the Catalans, much to a desperate pursuit of a replacement.
With the move, the Brazilian star became the most expensive player in the history of the game, for a whopping two hundred and twenty-two million euros (€222).
Neymar’s talent could surely command such transfer fee but there was something else, which, almost everyone said; it was a step backward in his blossoming career.
The unpopular opinion, then, was that he was stepping out of Lionel Messi’s shadows and equally taking up a new challenge.
One year on; after a full season in France, which, of course was characterized by controversies, goals, disappointment and a three-month lay-off, Neymar is missing in the 10-man nomination list for the 2018 FIFA Best Awards which was released on Tuesday.
Not surprised? Of course the feeling is mutual. Snubs of that manner and calibre usually raise noses, but in Neymar’s case this time, the popular feeling is undeserving. Not even after an underwhelming World Cup outing with Brazil.
Don’t get it twisted, it’s not that Neymar would win the award if nominated. So this is just an x-ray of how the Golden Son of another golden generation of Brazil got to this point.
Everything that happened to Neymar in the last one year or thereabouts, whether good or bad was more about him. There were hiccups created by transfer, but PSG and Brazil had less to do with them.
He was an instant hit in France. He became the centre of attraction and stole the show on many occasions while he also made the headlines for the wrong reasons. Until the horrible injury in February, Neymar was the focal point of PSG’s game.
An unfortunate injury as such is what an average footballer wouldn’t even wish his opponent – Few days before a crucial Champions League match and four months to the World Cup; you’re condemned to three months on the sidelines.
Against all odds, the former Barcelona star raced against time and was declared fit for Russia 2018. Only few would however, realize he wasn’t in top form throughout Brazil’s passage in Russia. The most visible part of his game was his falling and diving theatrics, which of course was a show spoiler.
In those period still, off the pitch, Neymar had risen to prominence as the most branded footballer in the world. At 26, Neymar is the face of twenty-seven companies in Brazil and beyond. His own personal brands include the diamond encrusted Gaga Milano wrist watches and car battery; Baterias Heliar.
All in a year, Neymar had risen and fallen like the stock market. But it appears he’s fast loosing credibility on the pitch, which is what’s attracting all the attention off the pitch.
Nothing is lost yet, but superstar Neymar needs to focus on football as much as being an emphatic winner in branding.