Every so often a young Brazilian forward of such dazzling potential emerges that comparisons are immediately made with the greatest of all, Pele. As another graduate of the Santos academy, and a player who has made a stunning impact in his teens, it is inevitable that Neymar has become one of them. However, he says his style is closer to that of Garrincha, and that Romario is his hero in the Seleção shirt. The early indications are that this hugely talented forward might, might, just have the potential to join the ranks of Brazil greats.
Though still in his formative years, Neymar has already been the subject of multi-million pound bids from giant European clubs, dazzled in Brazilian domestic football and at youth level for his country, and now he is beginning to do the same for the senior side. Overlooked for the 2010 World Cup by Dunga, despite pleas from Pele himself, Neymar is at the forefront of the new Seleção under Mano Menezes and, having already scored on his debut against United States in August 2010, caught Europe's attention when scoring twice against Scotland at Emirates Stadium when winning only his third cap in March 2011.
Neymar had already become a player of some repute in his home country though. A Santos player since 2003, he made his debut aged 17 and quickly shot to fame when winning the Campeonato Paulista in 2010 and being named the best player in the competition. Maintaining an impressive strike-rate, he shone alongside his stylistic soul-mate Robinho upon his loan return to the club from Manchester City, and was the subject of a £23 million offer from Chelsea in August 2010, which he rejected to continue his career in Brazil.
Though he also signed a new contract at the time, with his buyout clause set at (€45 million) £37 million, Neymar's continued excellence in the Santos shirt, despite some high-profile disciplinary problems, and his impact with Brazil at junior and senior level have led to persistent suggestions that he will move to one of Europe's biggest clubs.
He signed another new contract at Santos at the end of 2011, keeping him at the club until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but few people expect him to stay that long.
Strengths: A genius with the ball at his feet, Neymar's pace, dribbling , expert finishing and impeccable technique make him a fearsome opponent. His impressive awareness and match intelligence also mean he can operate wide or through the middle.
Weaknesses: His temperament is open to question following a number of disciplinary problems and he has been accused of being selfish, as well as indulging in some of football's dark arts.
Career high: His two-goal showing against Scotland in March 2011 which took his international tally to three in three games and announced his talent to a wider audience.
Career low: In September 2010, Neymar displayed his petulant side when first sparking a ruckus in a match against Ceara, and then arguing with coach Dorival Junior when overlooked to take a penalty against Guarani. Dorival suspended the player, and was sacked as a result.
Style: Electric, inventive, irrepressible, a dangerous forward.
Quotes: "It is good to be compared with the best player [Pele]. But my dad told me about Garrincha's style as he moved forward, went up, attacked and dribbled. Garrincha's style is more similar to Neymar's." Neymar, January 2011.
Trivia: Over 14,000 Brazil fans signed a petition demanding that Neymar be called up by Dunga for the 2010 World Cup finals.