Redemption can come in many forms. When Brazil and its national star Neymar took the final penalty kick last weekend to defeat Germany for an Olympic gold medal, a feeling of revenge was found and pain subdued.
Two summers ago at the 2014 FIFA World Cup semifinals, Brazil’s dream of a tournament victory on home soil was dashed in the cruelest of fashions. The Selecao were dismantled 7-1, as the German juggernaut steamrolled their way to the finals. It was a dark day for Brazil.
Although it may not be the same as a World Cup, the summer Olympics in Rio this summer offered a chance at a reprieve. The Olympic football tournament focuses more on a nation’s youth system than it does the senior level.
Rosters are to consist of U23 players, with three overage exceptions made for each side. This stipulation allowed 24-year old captain Neymar to lead his nation in seeking their first Olympic gold medal.
A slow start in the group stage saw the young Brazilians hit their stride at the right moment of the competition, as the knockout rounds saw them make quick work of their opposition. Defeating Colombia and Honduras by a combined score of 8-0, Brazil’s chance to avenge 7-1 was waiting for them against Germany in the final.
Neymar struck first, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead at halftime. An equalizer from midfielder Max Meyer saw the match head to extra time and eventually penalties.
With an enormous amount of pressure on the Barcelona star, Neymar converted the winning penalty to send the Marcana Stadium into a frenzy.
Definitely an inspirational moment for Brazil, but how might Neymar’s club team Barcelona benefit from this performance?
NEYMAR ARRIVES FIT AND IN FORM
The start of a new season can be a difficult process, even for some of the best clubs on the planet. Summer tournaments take quite a toll physically on footballers and fatigue in the early stages of a campaign are common.
Neymar, on the other hand, has had a different type of summer offseason.
Instead of playing in the Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016 like many of his teammates, Neymar had a chance to get some rest in June and come into the new season fully fit and in great form.
Granted the Spanish league will provide a much stronger test than the U23 squads he has faced at the Olympics, but Neymar will be ready to roll right away when he arrives at the Camp Nou.
Confidence is what fuels the greats and after his Olympic triumph in his home nation, Neymar will be bursting with confidence for Barcelona.
There is an excellent chance that when he arrives, he will be ready to perform to the best of his abilities. Along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, MSN will have La Liga defenders trembling.
Team captain for Brazil’s gold medal triumph has brought incredible leadership attributes to Neymar’s skillset.
Seen as brash and arrogant at times, he displayed a strong ability to motivate and rally a squad. After two opening group games that featured no goals for Brazil, Neymar was able to get the team playing its best and battle their way to the ultimate prize.
As Barcelona prepares to make another run in La Liga and reclaim the UEFA Champions League crown, Neymar’s leadership skills could shine bright throughout Europe in 2016-17.
Roy Emanuel, TFN International Correspondent on 26/08/2016 at 20:41
Follow Roy on Twitter @roy13a