"is a rookie that learns quick," according to Joaquim Piera
of SPORT. In Barcelona, "Neymar is an idol under construction, but in Brazil, he is a sociological phenomenon that is overcoming athletic barriers." Neymar has "been revolutionizing the advertising market in Brazil" since '10, when he was 18 years old. In early June, Forbes revealed that Neymar "had earned more than $20.5M in the preceding 12 months." This made him, at age 21, "the youngest athlete present in Forbes' Top-100, which was led by TIGER WOODS
." He is "not alone." Behind him, "there is a stable company focused on his business interests that manages his image and the constantly arriving commercial offers." Neymar currently "relies on a team of 22 full-time professionals, from commercial execs to communications specialists to bodyguards." He also "has at his disposal 25 other associates that are ready when needed." It is all "supervised by Neymar's father, NEYMAR DA SILVA SANTOS
." Neymar's business organization is different from other top footballers; LIONEL MESSI
"has only his father and one executive." CRISTIANO RONALDO
"leaves everything to Gestifute, a business run by Ronaldo's agent, JORGE MENDES
." The "seed for Neymar's company was planted in '06, when he was 14" and received an offer of €400,000 ($542,800) from Brazilian side Santos to "reject an offer from Real Madrid." His parents "could foresee a prosperous future and opened a sports management business with Neymar's initials -- NR Sports was born." Neymar announced "via social media" on May 26 that he would sign with Barcelona. At the time, he had 11 personal sponsors, including Nike, Panasonic, Red Bull and Volkswagen. He has a number of "personally-licensed products, including Rock & Soda Jeans and a line of toys as part of an agreement with toy manufacturer Gulliver." Neymar "also partnered with Brazilian cartoonist MAURICIO DE SOUSA
, who is known as Brazil's WALT DISNEY
." Like PELE
, Neymar now has his own cartoon character.
BARCELONA SERVES AS 'TRAMPOLINE': Neymar's signing with Barcelona "gave him a new dimension." It is already "certain his income will increase in '13." Neymar's annual salary is €7.5M ($10.2M) and signing with Barcelona opened up three new markets that are "appetizing: Europe, Asia and North America." Days after the agreement with Barcelona, "Neymar partnered with Doyen Global, which is based in London and will manage Neymar's image rights in Asia through 2017." Other similar partnerships "for North America and Europe have not been ruled out." NR Sports, however, "will not move, as Neymar's father wanted continuity." When necessary, "members of NR Sports have traveled from the company's new office in Santos, Brazil to Barcelona to resolve pertinent matters." It "is all only the beginning." Because of his "youth, charisma and indisputable talent as a footballer, some in the British economic press are already predicting that Neymar could become, commercially speaking, the new DAVID BECKHAM" (SPORT, 10/7).