The Brazilian forward invited the Anjos da Bola (Angels of the Ball) squad – winners of the first edition of Neymar Jr’s Five in July – to the FC Barcelona training ground as reward for their World Final victory at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil, this July.
For most of the seven childhood friends from the Rio de Janeiro favelas, all aged between 20 and 22, it was a first trip outside Brazil and for all of them it was an experience beyond their dreams, as they laughed and joked in the dressing room with their hero, Neymar Jr.
Meanwhile, Neymar Jr is waiting to see if he makes the final list of three for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, after voting closed on November 22.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Messi and Suárez should be among the final three for the FIFA award and of course I’d love to be there again as well, after featuring last year,” Neymar Jr said, looking forward to the announcement in December.
It would be perfect to have an all-Barcelona shortlistNeymar Jr
More than 65,000 people took part in the first edition of Neymar Jr’s Five across six continents and 47 countries. The five-a-side games last 10 minutes and feature a unique twist, as every time one team scores, the opposition loses a player. The World Championshipwas then held at Neymar Jr's Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr.
The Anjos team-mates grew up in the Complexo do Alemão favelas. They got a taste of instant fame after their dressing room meeting with Neymar Jr, when the Barcelona man posted pictures on Snapchat and Instagram – leading to an immediate flurry of likes, follows and friend requests for the seven guys from Rio.
"Meeting the winners was amazing,” said Neymar Jr. "Besides playing football very well, the guys are very nice to talk to. The only thing I missed was a great match to celebrate our meeting, but I didn't have my full team with me.”
The winning team was made up of Gabriel Ferreira Silva, Leandro Vianna Gomes, Leonardo Nunes, Leonardo Santos Mendes, Lucas Nascimento, Lucas Colette and Romário de Araújo.
“For a few days, we’re all living the dream,” said captain Gabriel Ferreira Silva. “All of us grew up hoping to be professional footballers one day and we never stop training and never stop dreaming. On this trip, we’ve discovered what it’s like in reality.”
Having won the award in 2011, Neymar Jr will find out on December 2 if his stunning effort against Villarreal will make the final three to be judged the best goal of 2016 by Fifa. You can vote here.