Get to know Neymar: Stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Written By Stefan Coerts
Getty Images

Sport: Soccer

Country: Brazil

Date of birth: February 5, 1992

MORE: Top U.S. athletes to watch | How to watch the Rio Games

Career highlights: Winner of Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey and Club World Cup with Barcelona, Copa Libertadores with Santos

Olympic record: London 2012 – silver

Having won the World Cup on five occasions and the Copa America eight times, Brazil is one of the most successful national soccer teams in the world. 

Yet there is still one piece of silverware missing from its trophy cabinet: Olympic gold.

MORE: 31 Greatest American Olympians | Bolt has never run a mile? 

The great Romario nearly succeeded in helping to deliver Olympic glory for the Selecao in 1988, but had to settle for silver. Other stars such as Ronaldo and Ronaldinho returned home with bronze in 1996 and 2008 respectively.

Brazil is hopeful things will be different this time around and Neymar is the man on whose shoulders the entire country's hopes rest. 

The Barcelona star stumbled at the final hurdle on his first attempt back at London 2012, but he is determined to go one better in his home country.

"I'm very keen to be there, not only because of the gold medal that Brazil misses, but also because the tournament is being played in my own country," the 24-year-old said recently. "It's hard to send a message to the Brazilian people and promise something. The only thing I can assure them is that I'll do my best to honor our shirt with all my strength."

MORE: Top Team USA newcomers | Athletes skipping the games

At London 2012, the skillful forward was still very much at the start of his career, but he has since developed into one of the world's best players.

The former Santos man made it onto the FIFA Ballon d'Or podium back in January after a stunning 2014-15 campaign in which Barcelona won the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey, with Neymar becoming one of just eight players to have won both the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League.

After several hugely successful seasons at club level, he has now set his sights on guiding Brazil to silverware.

Injury prevented him from leading the Selecao to glory on home soil at the 2014 World Cup, while a moment of madness led to a suspension that prematurely ended his 2015 Copa America campaign.

Success at Rio 2016 will quickly make the people of Brazil forget about those failures.

Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and so many others were unable to deliver that gold medal. It is now up to Neymar to finally end the wait.

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