In the Life of Brazilian Superstar Neymar Júnior

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Neymar Jr. representing Paris Saint-Germain — a professional soccer club.

Emily Aivazian, Website Editor, Section Editor

With the 2022 World Cup ending, one special athlete has gathered immense attention from the general public and media — Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. Bearing the reputation of being one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Neymar: The Perfect Chaos takes only three Netflix episodes to leave viewers thinking of the titular soccer player through a different lens.

By beginning the docuseries with negative remarks that have been said about him, Neymar Jr. sheds light on the heavy criticism he has received throughout his career. “Since I stepped foot in Paris… I’d say I’ve experienced more struggle than glory,” Neymar Jr. said. Joining Paris Saint-Germain, a professional soccer club in Paris, came with its highs and lows as he faced severe judgment from Parisians. 

To show viewers who Neymar Jr. truly is outside of his sport, Neymar Sr. recalls the origin of his son’s story. Beginning at B Street in Jardim Gloria, in the municipality of Praia Grande in Brazil, Neymar Jr. played soccer on the streets alongside his friends. Neymar Sr. informs the audience about Júnior’s background — a young boy from a poor family lacking the resources needed for him to play soccer. Despite having a difficult upbringing, Júnior’s love for soccer was pure from a young age, unaffected by his father’s career as a professional player. With his father serving as his manager, Neymar Jr. grew to become the talented player he is known as to this day.   

Neymar Jr. gained fame quickly as he played for his first club Santos FC, ultimately becoming the “golden boy of Brazilian football.” An incident that occurred in 2010 left the media casting a spotlight on Júnior for all the wrong reasons — cursing at his captain and coach. “I’ve rarely seen such an impolite athlete as this boy Neymar,” René Simões, manager of soccer team Atlético Goianiense (2010-2011), said. “Teach him some manners or we’re creating a monster.” Following such an act, Neymar apologized publicly, ending the backlash he received for being a “hothead” on the field. 

The documentary takes the audience to Neymar Jr.’s start at FC Barcelona in 2013. Playing alongside Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi, Júnior gained experience with the team learning new tactics in Europe that he had not learned before, as his friendship with Messi flourished in the meantime. Representing Brazil in a quarterfinal match during the 2014 World Cup, Junior sustained a detrimental injury to his vertebra, ending his time playing for Brazil. Following this traumatic experience, the audience experiences one of the most significant moments of Neymar’s career alongside him — his Olympic-winning penalty kick that led Brazil to win gold for the first time in 2016. 

As the episodes quickly change location and fast forward and backward into time, viewers are back to hear the negative commentary left by Parisians because of his performance upon his arrival at PSG. Due to his extravagant lifestyle outside of soccer, the public claimed that he was acting as a celebrity rather than an asset for Paris Saint-Germain. Ultimately, his decision to join PSG in 2017 led the public to cast the modern-day stereotype that he fakes his injuries since he sustained several while playing for the club. “Sometimes, I’d rather be a random guy than be famous,” Neymar Jr. commented. 

Since the release of the docuseries on January 25, 2022, Júnior’s popularity has risen to new heights. “Neymar is a phenomenal soccer player who’s often criticized for his tactics and interest in things other than soccer,” Clark alumni Wafaa Merzougui said. “He goes unnoticed as the spotlight is shown on Ronaldo and Messi, however, I believe he deserves the same publicity since he puts on a show while performing.”