A New Documentary Profiles Soccer Superstar Neymar
A Quick TV Review
Even the most casual of international soccer fans have heard of Neymar - Brazilian superstar and two-time Olympic medalist with a flair for attention - and Netflix's 2022 documentary is here to provide a broad overview of his career, successes and troubles and all.
Unfortunately, that 'noise' is often of Neymar's own making. And, while it features multiple interviews with the star, Neymar doesn't really offer a deep insight into Neymar. Well...perhaps there isn't much depth to uncover.
Neymar's three parts - "The Great Brazilian Promise", "The Comeback", and "This is Paris" - certainly outline the rapid trajectory and much-publicized career of the soccer player.
Born Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, Neymar was a youth phenom who idolized Brazilian legend Pelé, and who, as even though a 'scrawny' kid attracted the attention of even Real Madrid. But he stuck with Brazil, and played with Santos for five years, becoming the "Golden Boy of Brazilian football" and creating an era of "Neymarmania". And, Neytmar rushed to take advantage of his celebrity with a slew of brand alignments, and earning a reputation as a "hot-headed monster" that hasn't learned enough humility. Despite a Libertadores championship for Santos in 2011, a defeat in London 2012's gold medal match failed to deliver the high expectations and hopes of Brazil's rabid fans.
A much-hyped move to FC Barcelona came next, pairing him with absolute global superstar - and Beijing 2008 gold medalist with Argentina - Lionel Messi. Despite a championship in his second season a Champions League Final in 2015, a star turn with a gold medal at Rio 2016 (finally, for Brazil - and at home!), and a remarkable team comeback - La Remontada in the 2017 Champions League - Neymar doesn't get out from Messi's shadow, nor due credit. His lowlights - injuries, a disappointing 2014 World Cup run, and more - add to criticism and scrutiny. So much so that he seeks a fresh start, and a starring role, at Paris St. Germain in 2017, where he still plays today.
Neymar is interviewed throughout Neymar, but one is left with the impression that he's still a kid (he's now age 30) playing a game, without any discernible interest in a legacy beyond the playing field, aside from boilerplate pronouncements. His father/manager, though, thankfully does provide enough depth, especially as he tries to stress the business-side to his son.
Neymar is watchable enough, though not particularly revealing for serious fans. A highlight for me was catching three-time volleyball Olympic medalist Bruninho (Beijing 2008 through Rio 2016) as a member of Neymar's entourage, and hearing teammate perspective from Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Dani Alves.