Years before he became the most expensive player in the world; before his Olympic gold medal; before the Eiffel Tower lit up with his name to greet his professional move from Barcelona to Paris, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, the Brazilian forward known to the world simply as Neymar, faced his first public relations controversy.
The year was 2010, and Neymar, then 18, had shot to fame in Brazil after a sensational breakout season. During an interview for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, he was asked if he had ever experienced racism. "Never. Not in the field, nor outside of it," he replied. "It's not like I'm black, you know?"