Neymar advises Vini Jr and rookies behind the scenes

When the players of the Brazilian team are gathered for meals, Neymar is the one at the end of the table. A sign of respect for those who only lose to Pelé in number of goals with Amarelinha. There was a day at Granja Comary when right-back Emerson Royal, one of the team’s rookies in the Qatar World Cup cycle, sat nearby and distracted himself by looking at the head of the table while he ate. Every bite of Neymar, every sip of juice, every swipe of a napkin in his mouth.

“‘Royal, what are you doing?”, asked the left-back Renan Lodi, who was also part of this group of youngest girls, laughing. Only then did Emerson Royal wake up from the trance: “Gee, I was looking at Neymar. The human being is fire, sometimes you’re doing it and you don’t even realize it.” Lodi understood his friend perfectly: “Normal, I was like that on the first day too.”

It may seem like a banal scene in the national team’s routine, but it helps to show how Neymar is an idol for a whole generation of players who came to be called up by Tite and has a great chance of being in the fight for the sixth in November. But the day to day shows another layer of the personality of the shirt 10: Neymar friend, advisor and influential in relation to the newcomers.

Neymar - Reproduction/CBF TV - Reproduction/CBF TV

Neymar at the end of the table during the meal of the national team players last year

Image: Reproduction/CBF TV

From visit to bet with Vini

The striker tries to bring to the field the relaxed tone that surrounds the corridors of concentration, even more in a positive phase of the Brazilian team, with consecutive victories and early classification to the World Cup. The climate is favorable. And Vinny Jr. is one of the new figurines recently welcomed into the selection.

Ney is a great player, who has been in the national team for a long time. He always goes out of his way to help me on and off the field as well.”

The performance in Europe put Vini as the main name in Brazil’s attack, after Neymar. The relationship between them goes beyond the environment of the selection, which has circles after training and games involving submissions. The chemistry was even seen in the Champions League playoffs. Neymar and Vini made a bet. At stake, the classification to the quarterfinals. PSG lost and Neymar will have to pay: he will fund a party for his friend in Brazil, during the holidays, in the middle of the year.

Vini - Reproduction/Instagram - Reproduction/Instagram

Karoline Lima, Éder Militão, Rafaella Santos, Neymar and Vini Jr: friendship outside the box

Image: Playback/Instagram

The relationship between the two became closer when Vini was still at Flamengo. In 2018, Neymar was recovering from an injury in Mangaratiba and was visited by the then red-black striker, who was already a declared fan. Neymar told some of his moments in his career. From there, they started exchanging messages, anticipating the strengthening of ties that would happen in the selection. Even with the dances in the celebration.

Advice for Richarlison

In that 2018, Neymar also began to have a closer relationship with Richarlison. Charismatic, the striker captivated even the ace’s son, Davi Lucca. The boy came to stand next to his father during a press conference and asked in his ear, after an answer about Richarlison, that the player do the pigeon dance in the next game.

Off the field, the mood of mockery between the two even yielded a gaffe by Neymar. Unintentionally, he leaked Pombo’s phone in a live. Richarlison received a barrage of messages and had to change his number.

Richarlison - MB Media/Getty Images - MB Media/Getty Images

Neymar and Richarlison celebrate the Brazilian team’s goal against Peru in the 2021 Copa America

Image: MB Media/Getty Images

Last year, another portrait of the good relationship between the two took place before the Tokyo Olympics:

“I want to see if you have the personality to ask for a 10.”

That was the challenge proposed by Neymar to Richarlison. The two were roommates during the Copa America and were playing video games the day Richarlison got England’s Everton to go to the Olympics. Outside the competition, Neymar celebrated together with his friend, but provoked: “You have to take responsibility now.” In a call from Jardine, Pigeon asked for shirt 10 and was answered. The campaign culminated in the gold medal.

shared Santos crib

Rodrygo - UOL Art - UOL Art

Neymar and Rodrygo: Yesterday and Today

Image: UOL Art

In the case of forward Rodrygo, the friendship relationship began with pure idolatry. The age difference between them is nine years. When Neymar appeared at Santos, Rodrygo started at the base. The boy looked up to his idol so much that at the same time he switched from São Paulo to Santos. In 2012, the year of the club’s centenary, they had their first meeting at an event where players from all categories were brought together.

Rodrygo perfectly remembers – and tells anyone who will listen – the day he saw Neymar up close for the first time and was greeted by the idol: “Gee, I touched him. It was very special.” Years later, they are teammates in the Brazilian team and talk frequently. Although he rejects direct comparisons, Rodrygo likes to consult with the former idol on aspects of the game, in a relationship that is already widely observed by those who live the day to day of the selection.

With Raphinha, the story does not change. Neymar is an idol, adviser and friend, say people close to him. Over the Easter weekend, the Leeds United player traveled to Paris and was welcomed home by his teammate.

Raphinha - Lucas Figueiredo/CBF - Lucas Figueiredo/CBF

Neymar passes his hand on Raphinha’s head during the Brazilian national team game

Image: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF

A general view of the newcomers about Neymar is that they like how his personality combines rebelliousness to escape the standards in public positions and on social networks with a very strong sense of group and unity behind the scenes. Neymar defends those close to him, even if it costs him cursing, criticism and hatred, even from the media. Young people see this as the role of a player of the size that Neymar has.

On the field, Neymar already assumes that his status is not the same as in the two previous editions of the World Cup. There are more candidates for the protagonist now, as he said in an interview with Flamengo midfielder Diego, on Instagram: “I’ve played two Cups, I know how it works (…) In this Cup, I don’t want the opportunity to pass my hand. It’s my biggest dream at the moment (…) It’s to take advantage of the fact that the kids are flying now, I’m just going to push the ball in (laughs).”

Of the 85 players called up by Tite so far in preparation for the World Cup, 47 are rookies. Over half. The next call-up is tomorrow (11), with an eye on the friendlies against South Korea, Japan and Argentina.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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