The photo of Neymar and Ronaldo together might be giving many people another reason to push the whole Neymar bound for greatness issue, but besides seeing an overweight legend (due to a certain condition) next to a wonder-kid who will never be as great as Ronaldo, I fail to see the excitement and hype between the lines.
Although Ronaldo began his European tour in the 1990’s, not exactly the stone ages, the way a young talent develops under the media’s eye has changed vastly, mainly because of the Internet. When Ronaldo arrived at PSV, he was already after being an unused member of the Brazilian World Cup winning side of 1994. He was 17, after an impressive year with Cruzeiro, but not quite known to the European fans.
Neymar has been dubbed as the next big thing by pretty much everyone. Every time he pulls off a decent trick in the Brasilerao he gets more than a million vies on youtube. Ronaldo spent his first two seasons in the Dutch League without becoming a European and world sensation. Not every brilliant dribble could become a viral hit back then. Only when he reached Barcelona did the 19 year old kid become a worldwide phenomenon. Considered the best in the world before he was 20.
The rest? Most know the story. Neymar won’t go through the same process. It’s a big club for him right away. At 19, without ever playing outside the Brazilian league and one painful experience against the best in the world in Tokyo, Neymar looks to me as one who’ll be much more like Robinho than Ronaldo. That’s not a bad thing, Robinho has had a fantastic career up till now, but he didn’t, and won’t conquer the world.
Neymar may have dazzling skills and speed, but the longer he stays in Brazil, the more his career, and bank account, will suffer. Robinho didn’t thrive with Real Madrid right away. The big change plus the added pressure of playing for an enormous, demanding club, with no place for growth and mistakes, might do more harm than good.
Ronaldo, at his best, minus all the injuries, was the best in the world. An incredible, unstoppable, physical beast and a perfect goalscorer, by speed, force and accuracy. I’ve claimed more than once he might be considered the greatest ever if it weren’t for all those set backs that pushed his career off a golden path to something different. Neymar, despite the hype, isn’t what Ronaldo is. He might be great, but not legendary.