On Saturday July 8, Neymar Jr welcomed the world to celebrate football in his home town of Praia Grande, Brazil where the stage was set for the 2017 World Finals of Neymar Jr´s Five. Over 100,000 players from 53 countries battled for a spot in the World Final, but no one could stop the Romanians who were crowned as the best five-a-side team in the world, after defeating England in the deciding match.
Fresh from celebrating their win they were rewarded with a best of three friendly against Neymar Jr and some of his closest friends including Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus and former French national team player Djibril Cissé who helped make up his team of superstars to take on the champions.
Video Clip – Friendly Match One – Neymar Jr’s Team vs Romania – https://www.redbullcontentpool.com/international/AP-1SJ2HBCNN2111
Video Clip – Friendly Match Two – Neymar Jr’s Team vs Romania –
Tao United of Romania won the Neymar Junior’s Five World Finals beating the English side IFC Fives in a tiebreaker. More than the title the Romanians celebrated playing two matches against the hero of their dreams, the football superstar Neymar Junior, who has lent his name to the five-a-side football tournament organised by Red Bull at the place where he grew up a child. The tournament was happening at the ground of Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr., which has come up on the charity of the superstar.
The final was an intense battle. At full time, the score was tied at 0-0 forcing the match to go all the way to a 1 vs 1 Golden Goal. Romania’s Silviu Madalin´s counterattack decided the title after a long spell of possession from the Englishman, Kaine Wright. “When I stole the ball and ran to the goal I was already crying, so I do not know how I did it”, confessed the Romanian. Bogdan Dragos said they are ecstatic because “it is amazing to play against Neymar Jr and Gabriel Jesus. It is a dream come true”.
Video Clip – Final Match – Romania versus England https://www.redbullcontentpool.com/international/AP-1SJ2GKTCS2111
Neymar Jr. added: “When I arrived I looked at Romania and said, ‘they have the style of champions’ and they did. I am very happy to hold the second edition of the tournament here in my institute. There are lots of players from all over the world and it makes me really proud.”
Manchester City phenomenon and fellow Brazilian Gabriel Jesus congratulated Neymar Jr and his family for the initiative of the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr, which aims to improve the lives of the children and their families living in the surrounding area. “I was honored to receive the invitation and to see how important the event is for the kids, the public and the city”, he said.
Neymar Santos Senior, the superstar’s father and the man behind his success, was also present as the three generations of the Santos family celebrated their biggest passion – football. Neymar Jr. commands a huge respect for his altruistic activities that has turned the lives of more than 3000 children from around the locality towards betterment.
More than 100,000 players spread over six continents competed in Neymar Jr’s Five in one of over 350 qualifiers worldwide. The Romanians, 2017 World Champions, also won a second trip of a lifetime, this time to visit Neymar Jr in Barcelona where they will meet the Brazilian star and watch him playing at the infamous Camp Nou.
Hyderabad Sporting FC had lifted the national crown in a field of more than 2000 teams from 12 cities and looked high on confidence ahead of the start of the group league stage. The Indian side also had the advantage of playing in the second half of the fixtures, which meant that it got time to assess the standard of the opponents. The target was to remain among the top-three of the five-team group and make it to the knock-out stages or the round of 32. However, Indians were facing the best sides of the countries like Sweden, Spain, Malaysia and Maldives, who completed the group. The story in the end turned quite heart-breaking as Sultan, Zahid Mohiuddin, Emad Naser, Khasim Mehdi and Salman Alkathery conceded 20 goals while scoring just three in the four matches.
With five-a-side football still at its infancy in India, Zubair Sultan and his team return enriched with the experience of playing the shortened version of the game at the highest level while Red Bull prepares the next season of championship to identify the Indian team that will reach this address next year, renewing the dream of playing against Neymar.
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