In soccer, teams play with one main objective—to win the match. This is the major reason why teams adopt brilliant strategies and employ the services of highly skilled soccer players.
The famous Neymar da Silva Santos Junior is one of those exceptionally skilled soccer players that know how to get the job done. He is resilient, skillfully armed with a lot of dribbling skills, and can break through defensive formations with ease.
Neymar is a Brazilian who started playing soccer at the age of eleven. Since then, he has advanced rapidly in his soccer career to become an indispensable part of the Brazilian national team.
Also, he has played for top soccer clubs like Barcelona and PSG. No doubt, any upcoming soccer player will want to play like Neymar. However, the big question here is, “Do you have what it takes?”
In this article, we have carefully examined this outstanding soccer player, talking about his lifestyle, diet, fitness, psychology, training, personal practices, as well as his playing strategies.
Sure you want to play soccer like Neymar? Read on to see the things you should be doing.
- How to play soccer like Neymar?
How to play soccer like Neymar?
No doubt, every professional soccer player intends to become exceptional in their career. They also secretly desire to become highly celebrated and rewarded for their outstanding performances on the soccer pitch.
Neymar has grown to become a globally celebrated soccer star because he has a great command of the ball on the pitch. He didn’t necessarily get to where he is today because he is the fastest or the most skilled player but because he is highly disciplined and dedicated.
The Neymar first touch is arguably one of his most signature skills—and the first place you should start in your quest towards playing like Neymar.
This is a form of ball trapping move that confuses the defenders. A regular soccer player traps the ball in the front in such a way that the ball falls to the ground while in Neymar’s case he traps the ball from behind.
To pull this off, you need to stand on your weak foot and bend your strong foot behind your weak foot. Position the bent foot such that the ball strikes the inside of the foot.
Once the ball is cushioned by the inside of the foot, turn swiftly to face the ball and dribble your way through the defender.
The good thing about the Neymar first touch is that it sends the ball upwards giving you limitless possibilities on the direction you can move the ball to.
When and how to take shots like Neymar
Neymar is among the highest goal scorers in the history of modern soccer, no jokes. He has earned this remarkable feat due to his exceptional striking abilities and also the accuracy and style in which he takes his shots.
If you carefully observe Neymar, you will notice that he has a favorite spot from which he usually takes his shots. He always prefers dribbling his way into the 18-yard box before taking shots.
Knowing how to score goals using both feet has also earned him a lot of respect. This has also taught his teammates to avoid hesitation in feeding him with balls from all angles whenever he is goal-bound.
Neymar is very skilled when it comes to scoring goals with either his left or right foot. He doesn’t even have to bother about switching balls to his preferred foot before taking powerful shots.
He also knows how to use different parts of his foot for different purposes. Neymar mostly uses the inside of his foot even in static positions to take powerful shots. He can use the side of his foot as well as other parts to deliver accurate shots on target.
To be an effective striker like Neymar, you must understand how to use different parts of both feet even when you are under pressure from opponent players.
The pros of shooting like Neymar
- It allows you to score goals at the slightest opportunity
- Gives the team the confidence to win matches
- Shooting like Neymar will put a lot of pressure on your opponents
The cons of shooting like Neymar
- Sometimes it is better to just shoot from outside the 18-yard box. Many strikers and midfielders score goals that way.
How to defend like Neymar
In most soccer games, teams need to put on an intense attack on their opponents to score goals. Not every one of such attacks usually ends as intended.
Most attacks in soccer end prematurely, especially when the opponent team puts in a well-organized defense. When this happens, soccer players will have to struggle to regain composure and possession of the ball.
Sometimes, players face bigger tasks of stopping an imminent goal, especially during counter-attacks. Teams without skilled and experienced players usually incur goals during counter-attacks by opponents.
Most of the work put in place to stop opposing teams from scoring during rebounds often seems to be futile when defenders aren’t well-skilled. This is why you need to learn how to defend like Neymar while playing soccer professionally.
Neymar knows the right time to come in and save the day, that is why he is considered excellent at defending. He doesn’t just move around on the pitch waiting for defenders to possess the ball and pass it to him.
Whenever Neymar loses the ball, he always tries to repossess it by himself before it drifts far away from him. One of his popular tactics while playing soccer is forcing mistakes on his opponents using pressure.
He knows how to put pressure on opponents without giving them breathing space. Not only does he know the angle to attack, but he also knows how to force his opponent in the direction that will leave them vulnerable.
There is a huge difference between forcing an attack and being a victim of such an attack. Neymar doesn’t just leave the bulk of the work to his teammates when the ball is lost. He always finds ways to contribute to recovering the ball and defending his side of the pitch.
To defend like Neymar, you must have good defensive skills. That means knowing how to close down an opponent to limit their passing chances.
The pros of defending like Neymar
- It allows you to quickly regain possession of a ball when lost
- You can stop an impending goal against your team
- Make defending less hectic for the actual defenders
The cons of defending like Neymar
- Can be physically exhausting
- Tackles not properly done can result in injuries and fouls
How to dribble like Neymar
If you want to play like Neymar, you must know how to dribble past your opponents—carefully avoiding every effort made at the ball.
For Neymar, dribbling is one of his major characteristics and he always delivers effortlessly. He knows how to make cuts with the ball, change direction and increase his pace at will.
Impressively, Neymar has quite an array of dribbling strategies he uses against his opponents and he has mastered them all. His dribbles are often very difficult to thwart because he is dexterous and innovative.
He knows how to deceive his opponents by creating fake directions using multiple scissors moves. He is the modern king of the Elastico (the reverse, step over, and chops) dribbling move.
He seems to have mastered how to use his upper body movements to deceive his opponents. Neymar will keep the ball stationary and move his body as if he is about to make a move. Once the defender moves out of his way, he will speed away with the ball.
Although dribbling is a basic soccer skill, it is often difficult to learn and practice under pressure. However, if you put a lot of effort and time into learning Neymar’s dribbling style, you’ll be a pro like him in no time.
The pros of dribbling like Neymar
- You can effortlessly fool your opponents
- You can easily create goal-scoring chances
- Adds color to the game and makes it more entertaining
- Wins you more fans
The cons of dribbling like Neymar
- It demands that you learn and master different complex skills
- Dribbling like Neymar can get you in the bad book of dirty soccer players
- Most players are one-footed unlike Neymar that can use both feet
How to play as a winger like Neymar
The favorite forward position that Neymar likes to play is the wings—and he is so good at it. He has been a winger since his formative days and has built this position over the years throughout his career.
The regular wingers will receive the ball and run along the touchline until they get close to the corner flag then cross the ball into the 18-yard box hoping that a teammate will get the ball and score.
Well, Neymar is not your regular winger. Rather than running along the touchline, he runs towards the 18-year box from the side.
One interesting thing that he does is keep the ball on the outside of his foot as he runs. This makes it easy for him to change the direction of the ball when a defender runs towards him.
He will either use the inside of his foot to bring the ball to his left and hit a short pass away from the defender or move the ball wide of the defender using the outside of his foot.
Using this technique, he is able to find space between the full-back and center-back and dribble into the 18-yard box where he will either give an assist or curl the ball to the far end of the post.
To play as a winger like Neymar, you have to have a super dribbling skill to be able to pass the defenders.
The pros of playing the winger position like Neymar
- It gives the team an attacking advantage
- Creates better scoring chance than crossing the ball into the 18-yard box
The cons of the winger position like Neymar
- It requires that you have a lot of power and swiftness
- Speed is also an important characteristic that must be considered
- You must be an excellent dribbler
How to give an assist like Neymar
In soccer, you see a lot of passing of the ball from one player to another. For Neymar, when he passes the ball, he does so with style and accuracy which makes his passes easy to receive by teammates.
If you’ve been watching Neymar closely, you’ll notice a pattern in the passes he normally gives–he gives short passes. While every soccer player can pass the ball, giving an assist is a different ball game.
Like we already mentioned before, Neymar likes to cut into the 18-yard box through the side. He will then dribble towards the goal and draw the attention of other defenders and the goalkeeper.
As all the attention moves to him, it leaves his teammate open. What he does is simply lay the pass backward for his teammate to kick it into the other side of the net.
Neymar is also good at doing one-two passes and he seems to bond so well with Mbappe. If you are a fan of PSG, you must have seen them pull off one-twos to score goals.
What happens here is whenever Neymar moves with the ball, Mbappe will be running close by. As soon as he is confronted by a defender, he will pass the ball to Mbappe.
By this time the attention of the defender will be divided. That split second loss of focus allows Neymar to run behind the defender and receive the ball from Mbappe.
Likewise, Mbappe will run behind his marker and receive the ball again from Neymar—this time inside the opponent’s 18-yard box. Once Mbappe receives the ball, he will find an open spot and slot the ball home.
When it comes to giving assists, Neymar has also mastered how to pass the ball to his teammate through defenders with accurate speed and precision such that the defenders will be unable to intercept the ball. See some of Neymar’s incredible assists in the video below.
The pros of passing the ball as Neymar
- One-two play takes defenders unaware
- You will create more goal-scoring opportunities on the pitch
The cons of passing the ball as Neymar
- His passes require extra practice to perfect
How to position yourself for an attack like Neymar
Neymar is an exceptional player when it comes to leading an attack. He has the advantage of starting wide and swiftly sliding in when the opponents pose an attack.
The hallmark of a good striker is being in the right place at the right time. To create scoring chances for your team, you need to always be in a position where the player with the ball can easily find you.
Neymar always comes in from the outside through a well-calculated angle to the middle of the pitch, a strategy he has mastered over time. Neymar’s ability to properly position himself on the soccer pitch has earned him a lot of goals in challenging matches.
The pros of positioning like Neymar
- You can easily change the direction of play
- It opens the door for your team to launch a counter-attack
- It increases your chances of scoring goals
The cons of positioning like Neymar
- You need to anticipate moves by a teammate through intense practice
- It requires strength, balance, and speed
How to train like Neymar
Neymar has been training ever since he was a child and he is still training hard like ever before. You can find him with soccer balls training privately at odd hours of the night because he hardly gets tired.
He enjoys juggling in his spare time or kicking the ball casually as he moves from one place to another. Playing soccer is what keeps him happy most of the time.
Luckily for Neymar, his father was a former soccer player who has dedicated his time and effort to make his son who he is today. Neymar Sr. has been instrumental in the development and building of Neymar, right from his formative years.
He now manages his career, investments, and contracts and also serves as his special consultant, a job he does so well. This is evident in his negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), which led to a 220 million euro deal.
Neymar has also trained with professional teams, including the big Spanish club Barcelona. However, his success can also be attributed to the fact that he spends quality time training on his own.
He dedicates about three hours every day to practicing soccer, usually from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Aside from this, he also seizes every opportunity to learn new skills and tactics that have further enhanced his professional career.
Soccer to him is not just a career, it is also one of his most interesting hobbies. Neymar also loves engaging in other soccer varieties such as indoor soccer and ping pong, typically referred to as the “Fluttoc”.
You can train like Neymar and play like him if you are dedicated and hardworking enough. The first step is marking out your training times and working on one strategy at a time.
Don’t try to achieve all his feats in a day. You will fail woefully.
The pros of training like Neymar
- Develop your unique skills away from the public eye
- You increase your strength, stamina, and abilities
- Increase your value, rating, and worth
The cons of training like Neymar
- Requires much dedication and time
- You will have less time for leisure and other important activities
How to eat and exercise like Neymar
Neymar also maintains a healthy nutritional lifestyle, thanks to his master chief – Marcel Lermey who does the wonderful job of keeping his diet in check.
He is sometimes seen eating snacks and junk food like cakes, hamburgers, and chocolates. However, he burns them off quickly through his private training sessions and intense workouts.
He also has a good exercise routine. He uses the gym under the supervision of a professional instructor for an hour in the afternoons and visits his physical therapist for rehab thereafter.
The pros of eating and exercising like Neymar
- Exercising like Neymar helps eliminate unwanted fats and calories
- Builds the body and increases stamina
- Eating good food helps keep the body in good shape and maintain physical fitness
The cons of eating and exercising like Neymar
- Not everyone has the will to overcome their craving
- Maintaining such a lifestyle is often expensive and tedious
How to fall like Neymar
Soccer players are notorious for feigning injuries only to stand up the moment the referee blows for a freekick in their favor. Neymar seems to have mastered the act of flopping.
In the 2018 World Cup, it was recorded that he spent a whopping 14 minutes on the ground in Brazil’s first four games. Once hard-tackled in a certain way by the opponent, he would drop to the ground and roll on the pitch, holding his injury until the referee noticed him.
While this is sometimes annoying to watch, Neymar has been instrumental in winning crucial freekicks and penalties for his clubs and country.
To help you understand how crucial Neymar’s flops can be in a match, a Swiss youth club coach started including the “Neymar drill” for his team.
To be like Neymar in this regard, you must learn how to time your falls to avoid being penalized by the referee for halting the game.
Pros of falling like Neymar
- Can win your team crucial freekicks and penalties
- Slow the tempo of the game when your team is winning
- Frustrate the opponent
Cons of falling like Neymar
- If wrongly done you can get booked
- Can cost the team important scoring chances
No doubt, Neymar is one of the best soccer players in modern soccer. He has earned himself a great reputation due to his outstanding performances.
He stands out because he exhibits great strength, speed, balance, skills, and agility when on the soccer pitch.
This he has been able to achieve with constant practice and training with professional teams as well as personal training. He seizes every opportunity to improve his skills, even in his leisure hours.
Most important of all, he lives a healthy lifestyle of nutrition and exercise. If you want to play soccer like Neymar, this article should be your starting point.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!