Five years ago, a 19-year old Neymar scored one of the best individual goals you will ever see.
In a move that started all the way out on the left sideline, the scrawny future superstar picked up the ball and split two defenders with some quick feet before playing a wall pass off his center forward.
Then, the true magic happened. Neymar somehow managed to shift the ball between his right and left foot to maneuver past another defender before beating the goalkeeper with a clever outside of the foot finish.
No explanation could properly do it justice.
The goal earned Neymar the Puskas Award for 2011’s best goal, and rightfully so.
However, the match in itself should have earned some type of award.
Neymar’s goal put Santos ahead 3-0 before Flamengo came storming back.
Neymar found the net a second time while Ronaldinho scored a hat-trick that included a trademark under-the-wall free-kick.
The entire highlight video is certainly worth a watch.
Since that day, things have gotten even better for Neymar, who failed to fall into the ‘unfulfilled potential’ category that so many other hyped teenagers do.
He earned his dream big-money move to Barcelona in 2013 where he won back-to-back La Liga titles in 2014–15 and 2015–16 and the Champions League in 2015.
With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, is there a Balon d’Or in Neymar’s near future or will he have to wait?
Still just 24 years old, what kind of individual and team honors are in the Brazilian’s future?