Podcast: Brazil’s Neymar will showcase talent
Brazil soccer has provided a constant stream of world-class talent for the past 60 years, so it should be no surprise that another youngster from the Samba system is tipped to make waves on the international scene.
The hype surrounding Neymar, the mercurial 19-year-old star of Santos, has reached levels previously unseen and there are many ready to anoint him as a legend in the making despite his age.
This weekend will see Neymar face perhaps his biggest challenge to date, as South American champions Santos take on mighty Barcelona in the final of the Club World Cup in Tokyo.
[ Related: Listen to Martin Rogers’ podcast here ]
Neymar’s evolution is the main topic of this week’s Yahoo! Soccer Podcast, in conjunction with World Football Daily, where I speak to BBC’s South America correspondent Tim Vickery about the boy that a nation hopes will lead it to World Cup glory in 2014.
The Club World Cup is something of a misnomer, as even if Barcelona was to suffer an upset, it would still be regarded by most as the best club team on the planet. Even so, Sunday’s matchup will provide plenty of interest, especially with Neymar squaring off against Lionel Messi.
Barcelona suffered a blow in its semifinal victory over Al-Sadd of Qatar when influential striker David Villa broke his leg and is expected to miss up to six months. His absence not only will impact the January transfer window, but also potentially Spain’s bid to retain the European Championship next summer.
Those topics were broached with Daily Telegraph writer Jeremy Wilson, while John Cross of the Daily Mirror in London gave his views on whether Arsenal’s in-form forward Robin Van Persie would be leaving the club in January.
Spanish soccer expert Graham Hunter dissects last weekend’s ‘El Clasico’ result, where Barcelona came from behind to beat Real Madrid, and analyzes the disappointing performance of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Finally, co-host Sophie Nicolaou and I play our weekly installment of Agree or Disagree and Teacher’s Marks before I give my predictions for this weekend’s biggest games.
To have your questions answered in next week’s show please message me on Twitter at @mrogersyahoo.
To subscribe to the full version of World Football Daily, go to www.worldfootballdaily.com and sign up to receive one of three gifts: a Bumpy Pitch cap, a limited edition Lionel Messi T-shirt, or a copy of The Soccer Men, the new book by Simon Kuper.
Other popular stories on the Yahoo! network:
• The Vancouver riot Kissing Couple has turned up in a surprising place
• Fantasy football video: Is Tim Tebow really a clear start for playoffs?
• Ten holiday gifts that give back