Neymar’s got it all these days.
The fast cars, the women, the truckloads of Spanish lira.
And the gold-encrusted diamond earrings too don’t forget.
But it wasn’t ever thus.
Neymar Jr entered this world to a life of underprivilege and downright disadvantage.
When you look at it like this, the success of his career is a flippin’ miracle.
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1 He was born in Mogi das Cruzes
Which, if we’re being kind, is not the most salubrious suburb of Sao Paulo you’re ever likely to find.
2 His parents were dirt poor
His Dad, Neymar Sr, had just given up on his failing football career when Neymar Jr came along and eventually had to work three jobs to make ends meet.
3 Things were so tight they couldn’t even afford electricity
So Neymar’s early childhood was conducted by candlelight as unpaid bills meant frequent power outages.
4 And they never had an ultrasound scan before he was born
Again, cash was just so tight, the Neymars had to cross their fingers and hope for the best.
5 His Dad couldn’t even watch him play football as a junior
He was too busy trying to hold down those three jobs.
6 And his son had to go to one of the worst schools in the neighbourhood
7 Things got worse before they got better
When the whole family had to move in with Neymar’s grandparents to save money.
8 They all had to cram into one tiny bedroom
9 And share a single mattress
10 And then there was that time Neymar nearly died
11 When his Dad crashed his car on a mountainside
The four-month-old Neymar was thrown from the car and later found bleeding by the side of the road. Thankfully, for him and for football, he escaped with minor injuries.
What a journey.
VIDEO: Watch Neymar in action as a 14-year-old