We all know that Neymar is a friendly dude. But never have we dove into who his friends really are. That is about to change, find out who are the best friends of the Brazilian sensation.
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In the 2016 edition of the Copa America Brazil were staring down the face of a 1-0 defeat at the hands of South American minnows Peru in the Gillette Stadium, Boston Massachusetts, USA. This disastrous loss meant the Selęcão would be knocked out of the tournament, failing to progress past the group stages.
Meanwhile in another continent, far far away, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior was celebrating his 26th birthday. The exclusive Pavillon Cambon in Paris filled to the rafters with celebrity athletes, musicians and models; the likes of F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, Brazilian footballer royalty Ronaldo, Victoria’s Secret model Izabel Goulart, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, all dancing to DJ Snake’s beats.
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But none were more important to the Birthday boy himself than the 50 odd friends he had flown in from his hometown of Sao Paulo. This is the ballooning number of the Brazilian footballer’s entourage, the people he trusts, his parca, people who live off of him, but people he lives off of as well. But it wasn’t always like this, let us take ride across memory lane to trace the hum beginnings of Neymar and his parcas.
In the early 2000s, a thirteen year old Neymar is offered a youth contract by Brazilian club Santos, here he meets Jota Amancio another of Santos’ prospects, the kids train together, whilst also sharing their meals, beds and lives, building up an inseparable bond. The two would go on to play for the same youth teams before Amancio was released by Santos and Neymar went on to reach mainstream success.
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As the forward’s glittering list of accolades grew, so did his extravagant lifestyle. Eduardo Musa, the former Santos marketing directer worked as Neymar’s advisor for the better part of six years, and recalls the challenges and responsibilities that accompany arranging and organizing the exuberant and outlandish demands of a global superstar such as Neymar and his band of brothers.
One of Neymar’s closest friend, Gilmar Araujo, worked briefly as Neymar’s agent before taking up the role of chief photographer. Managing the superstars social media. He spanned his business clothing brands, and an advertising agency and grew his own public following with currently 500,000 followers on Instagram.
When the Brazilian forward signed for Barcelona in 2013, the club paid upwards of €300,000 to bring his friends and family to the unveiling of the superstar. Present amongst them are of course Jota Amancio, Gustavo Almeida and Gilmar Araujo.
Neymar takes special care of his friends with each of them earning £10,000 every month. In fact the parcas’ wages are tried to the Neymar’s own contract! Any club looking to sign the Brazilian to their ranks must take care of his friends as well. PSG’s recruitment of the South American superstar saw them fork out €200,000 for his loyal friends.
Speaking to UOL Esporte, Gustavo Almeida, another of Neymar’s close friends said, “He lives in a pressure-cooker, and we are an escape. We don’t talk about football. We are a way for him to let go of the stress of his life. We are together to chat, travel.” Indeed the pressure that comes with being one of the most recognizable faces in the world, task with the responsibility to lead both club and country to glory is something that is unfathomable to the average man.
There’s a growing concern that his band of brotherhood have a detrimental affect on Neymar’s professional career, the media like to paint a vulgar picture, but on the other hand there are reports that the group doesn’t get in the way of training, they are very respectful of the professional footballer’s schedule, and only show up when it’s downtime. It is very lonely at the top, and what good is the money if you don’t have people to spend it with?