Neymar on role models and racing

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior (Neymar) has revealed a national team colleague as his biggest idol.

The striker told Red Bulletin magazine: “I still consider myself a fan now and then. Especially Robinho is my hero.” Robinho currently plays for AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A league. The ex-Real Madrid star, 27, and Neymar could form Brazil’s attacking line in the upcoming World Cup. The tournament will take place in Brazil in 2014.

Energy drink producer Red Bull invited Neymar to spend a day in Austria in August. The versatile player – widely seen as the biggest South American talent – visited Red Bull’s Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart (SZG) but also cruised along the Red Bull Ring racing court in Spielfeld, Styria.

“I was really nervous because I have no experience of motor sports at all,” the FC Santos ace revealed speaking to Red Bulletin. Neymar added: “I became more relaxed the more time I spent behind the wheel. The whole day was an incredible experience for me, but doing 200 kilometres an hour in an Audi RS5 was what I enjoyed the most.”

Football fans around the world are wondering if and when Neymar will join a big club in Europe. English Premier League giants Chelsea and Spain’s big two, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, are vying to secure the rising star’s services. Reports have it that the clubs are ready to fork out between 40 million and 45 million Euros to snatch up Neymar.

Reginaldo Texeira, who works as a scout for a Cologne-based footballers’ agency in South America, recently explained why Neymar has so far opted to continue playing in his homeland’s top-flight league. “Players are earning well in Brazil nowadays. Neymar’s new contract means he receives 700,000 Euros a month before tax – no less than he would get by playing for a top side in Europe’s best leagues,” he told German magazine Der Spiegel.

Texeira explained: “Brazil’s league football is on the same level as the game in Europe at the moment. The World Cup takes place in three years. Many players want to make the (Brazilian national) squad under all circumstances. They know that the national coach watches them play more often when they decide to keep competing for Brazilian clubs.”

Neymar is one of the hundreds of individual athletes and team sport stars from all over the world who are financially backed by Red Bull. The Salzburg-based company, which is headed by billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz also sponsors ski jumpers Gregor Schlierenzauer and Thomas Morgenstern, skier Lindsey Vonn and football teams including RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg and New York Red Bulls. The firm – which sold around four billion cans of its trademark drink last year (2009: 3.9 billion) – also organises fun sport events and runs football youth academies in Africa and South America.