By September 6, 2012 2 Comments Read More →

The Gringo in Bahia: Battling Neymar

There are few teams in the world with a better pedigree than Brazil’s Santos FC. And there are even fewer players with as much name recognition as their forward Neymar. In our 3-1 road win against Santos last week, the starlet was generous enough to leave me a souvenir: unfortunately it was a black eye.

The 20-year-old has scored 111 goals in less than 200 Brazilian league games and has scored nine times in just 20 appearances with the Brazilian National team.

The club also boasts arguably the sport’s best player, Pele, who spent most of his career with Santos before playing in the United States. Pele has said that Neymar is already a better player than Lionel Messi- who is widely considered the best player in the world and two-time defending Ballon d’Or winner. Although Pele’s comparison might be biased because of shared nationality.

Santos players, Paulo Henrique Ganso and Arouca have also been selected to play for the National Team.

Santos has won the Campeonato Brasiliero eight times, tying for the most in history. Additionally they are also the defending champions of the Copa Libertadores and placed second at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup, losing in the final against Barcelona.

Danny Morais challenging Neymar in the game against Santos. Bahia won 3-1.

Despite Santos’ impressive resume and roster, we traveled to Vila Belmiro and won 3-1.

Preparing for game in the dressing room of Santos' Stadium, Vila Belmiro

In a contest for the ball, Neymar -unintentionally- hit me in the face with his elbow. My eye swelled and turned purple, but we still held our talented opponents to a single goal.

The black eye delivered by Neymar was definitely worth the victory

After a quick recovery, I played Sunday against Sao Paolo FC at our home stadium in Salvador. Sao Paolo has won the Campeonato six times, third most in Brazilian history behind Palmeiras and Santos.

It was a very good week, despite having a black eye. We won against two of Brazil’s most storied and successful teams. These wins helped us climb to 16th place in the Campeonato standings, and clear of the relegation zone.

2 Comments on "The Gringo in Bahia: Battling Neymar"

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  1. Karl Matchett Karl Matchett says:

    Nice one Danny. what did you make of Neymar's off the ball movement? Often difficult to establish that from relatively limited viewing. Did he play from the left or more central against your side?

    • Danny Morais Danny Morais says:

      He plays more on the left, but can dribble very fast for both sides. The greatest difficulty is when he uses all his speed to move forward to attack. It's a smart player that sits very well with and without the ball.

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