PARIS: Football fans are well-versed in the on-field briliance of 25-year-old Neymar. Here are five lesser-know things associated with the Brazilian star ahead of his record-busting move to Paris Saint-Germain:
Voodoo gods summoned
Neymar and a nation shed a torrent of tears when a collision with Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zuniga left him down and out of the World Cup with a fractured vertebrae, paralysis only narrowly avoided. Brazil's 7-1 semi-final implosion to Germany compounded the misery. Fast forward two years, and the tears were of joy as Neymar's spotkick at the Maracana sealed a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Germany and a coveted first ever Olympic football gold to dissipate the painful legacy of Brazil's roller-coaster World Cup misadventure. Brazil's Rio 2016 campaign had started poorly with lacklustre draws that left them on the verge of more humiliation on home soil. So voodoo gods from Afro-Brazilian rites were invoked to revive fortunes. "The Brazil team has no Olympic spirit. I am going to ask Odum, the god of strength, to give Neymar 'good fluids' to recover his desire to go all out," Helio Sillman told AFP.
Paris perfect for party boy
A self-confessed party boy and lover of the night Neymar should enjoy the lure of the City of Light. The Ferrari-owner is unapologetic about his penchant for life in the fast lane. Last year he said: "I'm 24 years old. I have my faults. I'm not perfect. I like to go out and have fun with my friends. Why shouldn't I go out and party?... It's my private life. On the pitch, I always give everything I have."
Three of the most celebrated footballers on the planet share many things -- a ridiculously prodigious gift for the game, star appeal, a lavish lifestyle -- and a very special date. For when Neymar blows out his birthday candles on February 5 every year Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez are doing the same thing. Tevez was born on that day in 1984, Ronaldo 12 months later, with Neymar born on Feb 5, 1992, in Mogi das Crzes, Sao Paulo. Creative, eccentric and needing constant reassurance are three of the traits associated with those born under this trio's star sign, Aquarius.
Neymar may be the world's most expensive player by the length of the Champs-Elysees, but he has some way to go to be top dog on social media. He can call on an entirely respectable 30.5 million-strong army of Twitter followers, some 58 million mates on Facebook and 78m on Instagram. That makes him marginally more popular than his erstwhile Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, but both are eclipsed by CR7. Across the three platforms Cristiano Ronaldo has a whopping 282 million followers - that's the combined populations of France, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and his native Portugal.
Neymar and GDP
If Neymar was a country his net worth based on his bank-busting 222 million euros ($260 million) release clause would place him at 206th in the United Nations' list of nations by GDP ahead of the Marshall Islands and Palau.