In this week’s Golden Boot Contenders feature Soccer Laduma looks at Brazil ‘wonderkid’ Neymar and discusses whether he can live up to the expectations in Brazil.
The hopes of a whole nation will lay on the shoulders the 22-year-old, but so far Neymar da Silva Santos Junior has done impressively well when playing for the Selecao.
Neymar has already scored 30 goals in only 47 games when wearing the famous Brazil shirt, far more than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo for their countries at his age.
In 2010, he debuted for Brazil at the age of 18 and immediately scored in a 2-0 win over the USA.
His name reached the international stages during the 2011 South American Youth Championship when his nine goals helped Brazil to win the eleventh title in competition.
At the 2013 Confederations Cup he had been given the iconic number 10 shirt and showed the whole world that he can live up to the high expectations around his name.
Many critics expected Neymar and Brazil to stumble, but instead he impressed and outshone everybody else.
Neymar scored the first goal of the tournament in Brazil’s 3-0 over Japan. He also scored the opening goal in the second match against Mexcio and assisted the second goal by Fred.
He scored his third consecutive goals with a stunning free-kick, as Brazil beat Italy 4-2, and received his third consecutive Man of the Match award.
In the final, Neymar almost single-footedly dismantled World Cup champions Spain by scoring a brace and his performance saw him awarded the Golden Ball for the best Player of the Tournament.
After the Confed Cup, he joined FC Barcelona where he has been struggling to adapt in his first season at Camp Nou. However, he still scored 15 goals in 41 games for the Blaugrana.
His national team coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, had continuously criticized last season's Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino for playing Neymar in the wrong position at the club and insisted the Brazil ‘wonderkid’ will shine during the World Cup on home soil.
Do you think Neymar can win the Golden Boot at the World Cup? Have your say in the comment section below.