Neymar Jr turns 25 and reveals plans for future

The Brazilian inspires millions with his Neymar Jr’s Five project – so what does he want to do next?
Portrait shot of a smiling Neymar Jr
Neymar Jr turns 25: what next for football star? © Rasmus Kaessmann Photography/Red Bull Content Pool
By Matthew Collins

Despite still being just 25, Neymar Jr has already netted an incredible 50 goals for his country with only Romario (55), Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) scoring more for the five-time World Champions.

However, he still has aspirations of his own involving some of his heroes.

And fuelled by missing the World Cup semi-final in 2014 through injury, the Barcelona star wants to fire his name into the record books and help his nation win the biggest trophy of all.

I still have many things to do, there’s a lot of titles to be conquered

Neymar Jr

In an exclusive interview with Red Bull, Neymar Jr said: “It would be a big honour for me, it’s a dream I have to keep playing for the Brazilian football team, to score goals and help the team the best way I can.

“And, well, I hope I’m able to keep scoring, keep setting records, that makes me happy. I don’t want to be better than anyone, all I want is to be better than myself. For me, that’s what really matters.

“I’m not anxious, but I’m already thinking about the World Cup. I am a daydreamer; I can’t stop thinking, imagining how it would be to win a World Cup. But I will work hard, so that I’m prepared for 2018.

“I have many [ambitions]. I still have many things to do, there’s a lot of titles to be conquered.”

Neymar Jr celebrated his birthday on Sunday and received a personal video with messages from friends and sport stars including Marc Márquez, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

His exploits on the pitch have already propelled him from street football in Praia Grande to one of the most recognisable faces on the planet, with a trophy cabinet packed full of silverware and individual accolades.

Currently one of the famous ‘MSN’ trio alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez at the Catalan giants, he's aiming for a third straight La Liga title.

And a recent run of more than 1,000 minutes without finding the back of the net has been quickly forgotten with three goals in five games.

He said: “It’s complicated when you’re not scoring goals, especially if you play upfront, where the expectations are the highest. So it’s bad, it’s annoying, but it’s not the first thing I worry about.

“I focus on winning the match, no matter if it’s me, or a fellow player who scores. Then I think about scoring, about finding a way to get rid of the jinx.

“I know it’s a little hard [to win the title], but nothing is impossible. Last year, we were 12 points ahead of second place and we won by one or two, if I’m not mistaken. But there’s still a lot of games to go, a lot of matches, anything can happen and we’re really focused, we are thirsty for the title and we’re going for it.”

It isn’t only at the Camp Nou though where Neymar Jr enjoys putting smiles on people’s faces. In 2016 he travelled to his hometown to attend the World Final of his signature global football tournament, Neymar Jr’s Five.

The inaugural edition featured more than 65,000 people taking part across six continents and 47 countries. This year teams from around the world will again set out in the hope of making it all the way from the qualifiers to the World Final in July at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil.

He said: “I think nobody expected so many people in the first edition. We were really satisfied, really happy. I hope this number grows even bigger.

“The advice I’d give [the countries that are participating] is to be happy, no matter the result, no matter how hard it is. I hope they can have fun with Neymar Jr’s Five, because this is the most important – be happy, have fun and I wish them all the best again.”

For more about Neymar Jr's Five – including how to take part – visit the official site

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