Creative Soccer Culture

SoccerBible Q&A | Neymar Talks Nike, Style & Football

We chat exclusivley with Barcelona's Brazilian superstar

In what is set to be the most monumental year of his career so far we caught up with Brazil and Barcelona striker Neymar to talk about working with Nike, style, adapting to life in Spain and how his love of football had his mother dragging him home by his ear every night.

SB: As a brand that has such a strong history with Brazilian football, is it exciting for you to be involved with NIKE?

Neymar: I have always been a great NIKE fan, ever since I was a kid, because my idol, Robinho always wore NIKE. This is why I always was always a fan, because of him. After a few years I got a sponsorship which made me very happy because it is a brand that I have always liked.

SB: You grew up watching the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho wear NIKE boots. Was it your ambition to follow in their footsteps?

Neymar: I always wanted to be sponsored by NIKE because it is a huge brand worldwide, and very well known. What is most important for me is to have good equipment and to be comfortable when I am playing. So that has always been my main goal: to be comfortable on the pitch.

SB: How much did football occupy your life growing up? Was it a 24/7 obsession? 

Neymar: It took up my whole day. I went to school in the morning, came home from school at mid-day and I had lunch on the run or I didn't even bother with lunch so I could go straight out to play football. I would play until my mother came out, pulled my ears and shouted at me to go home for supper. But then I did not have supper and got back home at ten or eleven at night. I did that everyday, it was always football!

SB: Your father has said that your success is down to being brave and taking risks. How important has this been in your success?

Neymar: What he said is true: the risk is huge! If you stay still you will not succeed so you have to try, be bold and daring enough to try something different. You have to feel joy, you know…the pleasure of doing what you love! So, all of that is part of the risks involved in success. If you do not do that, you will hardly succeed.

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SB: How much of your game is based on impulse and playing with expression?

I find it hard to be an impulsive person; there are many times when you cannot act quickly, you have to think: is that the best option? I sometimes feel like doing things that are just not allowed in football! You feel like insulting or hitting someone, but you cannot as it is against the rules, against everything. You have to stop, think, get back to normal, count to ten and go back to playing football.

SB: How do you express your personality off the pitch?

I think that off the pitch and out of football I forget everything and I am the same. Wherever I am, if I do something it is because I want to do it. I appreciate my private life, being with my friends, my family, which is the most important. Off the pitch I try to be myself as much as I can. I am always joking and having fun with my friends. I like to play video games, pool, cards, go out for supper, go out on the town and just try to be a normal person.

SB: Does NIKE's style and attitude reflect your personality?

Neymar: For sure. I think NIKE is a lifestyle because it is a source of inspiration for many people who follow NIKE worldwide. I have a friend who is a big NIKE fan and everything he buys is NIKE. I think that NIKE also gives life to people with their products.

SB: What about music? Who are you listening to right now?

Neymar: I really admire musicians. I think that if I were not a football player, and if I could choose a profession other than football, I would be a musician. Although I do not play any instruments, I am really passionate about music. I am fan of all of all musicians because music is what motivates and moves people regardless of profession. I listen to music everywhere. Music is always near me.

SB: How have you adapted to living in Barcelona?

In Barcelona I value my family and friends much more. When they are here with me I thank God and enjoy every minute and every second with them. We are always joking and competing but always laughing. I think that was what I missed most when I first came to Europe. With football of course, I am always learning. There are cultural differences and learning another language which is always good. What is most important is that I have my family and friends here.

Nike is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nike Football, exemplified by legendary players who embodied the beautiful game on and off the pitch such as Figo, Totti and Ronaldo and a new generation of players who bring that spirit to the modern game like Neymar.


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