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Neymar's Father: a Shield Protecting the Career and Fortune of PSG's Newest Star

08/07/2017 - 10h03

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ALEX SABINO
SPECIAL ENVOY TO PARIS

KLAUS RICHMOND
FOLHA CONTRIBUTOR, FROM SANTOS

Neymar da Silva Santos is the soldier fighting in the trenches for Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. He won't back away from a fight, earning him solid friendships, the admiration of his son and the anger of his enemies.

The former right-winger, who played for humbler teams like União Mogi (based in the São Paulo countryside) and Operário-MT, managed to live the dream, earning fame and fortune thanks to his son.

At events where the recently-signed PSG star is the main attraction, his father will also be approached by the powerful and by fans who will request selfies and autographs - the kinds of requests he'd never turn down.

"It's interesting, because even when the company would organize games for fun, and Neymar Jr. would play with us, his father would press the kid. He'd really stimulate him, telling him not to get cornered in by the sidelines", said Manoel Messias Gomes Filho, who worked at the truck garage for CET (São Paulo's traffic engineering company), while Neymar Sr. worked on the company's cars.

Things haven't changed much since then. The first thing Neymar does when he walks off the pitch and into the locker room is check for any of his father's messages. They are reports on his performance, as well as complaints, tips and alerts.

While on the one hand he may encourage his son, promoting his career like no one else, on the other, he's also his biggest critic.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

Read the article in the original language

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
Neymar da Silva Santos, father of soccer player Neymar, poses on the red carpet during an auction to raise funds for Institute Project Neymar Jr in Sao Paulo
Neymar da Silva Santos, father of soccer player Neymar, poses on the red carpet during an auction to raise funds for Institute Project Neymar Jr in Sao Paulo

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