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Goal Getter: Neymar da Silva Santos Jr.

Neymar controls the ball against a Mexican team defender Martin Bernetti/AFP/GettyImages

 

The man known simply as Neymar is no stranger to tough training sessions. He’s had his boot to a soccer ball for as long as he can remember, joining the São Paulo outfit Santos FC at the tender age of 11. Fast forward to 2013 and he’s one of the world’s most talented players, having scored more than 100 goals for Santos since making his debut for the senior team in 2009. He also helped the Brazilian national team to a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

But it’s not as easy as he makes it look. “It’s a lot of hard work,” he says. “As much as it can appear like we are just having fun -- which in my case is also true -- there’s a lot of training involved, which means constant commitment and sacrifice. When I’m not playing or training for Santos, I’m with the Brazil team, so training and matches dominate all my time. It means being away from the family, which is hard, especially Davi Lucca [Neymar’s 15-month-old son].

"I also wish I could eat what I like, but as we have matches almost every weekend, we must eat a balanced diet, with protein, carbs, and salads every single day. But essentially I think that doing what you love is the key to great performance, and I love playing soccer. This is my job, but it’s also lots of fun.”

WORK, REST, AND PLAY
During the season, downtime is as important as training to ensure Neymar is in perfect form for each 90-minute match. “When we don’t have matches we do a lot more gym work,” says Neymar, “but during the season a lot of your training comes on the pitch.”

nullJürgen Skarwan/Red Bull Media House

MONDAY
Morning Rest
Noon Lunch
1-4 p.m. Rest
4-5:30 p.m. Tactical training on the field -- working with the team
5:30-7 p.m. 11-a-side practice
7 p.m. Dinner

TUESDAY
9 a.m. Breakfast
10-11 a.m. Tactical training on the field -- working with the team
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Technical training-- working alone or in small groups on shooting, passing, dribbling, other skills.
Noon Lunch
1-6 p.m. Rest
7 p.m. Dinner

WEDNESDAY
9 a.m. Breakfast
10 a.m. Coach’s speech
12 p.m. Lunch
1-5 p.m. Rest
6 p.m. Snack instead of a big meal
9 p.m. Match

THURSDAY
Usually a day of recuperation
3 p.m. Jogging around the field
4 p.m. Hydrotherapy -- using water jets for massage that aids muscle recovery.
7 p.m. Dinner

FRIDAY
10 a.m. Breakfast
11 a.m. Tactical training on the field -- working with the team
12 p.m. Technical training
1 p.m. Lunch
2-6 p.m. Rest
7 p.m. Dinner

SATURDAY
9 a.m. Breakfast
10 a.m. Coach’s speech
12 p.m. Lunch
1-3 p.m. Rest
3:30 p.m. Snack instead of a large meal
6.30 p.m. Match

SUNDAY
Day off

 

 

Check out the February 2013 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands January 15) for more articles. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.

 

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