The road to Neymar Jr’s Five 2017 World Final starts here
Neymar Jr launched the second edition of his signature five-a-side tournament on Wednesday and spoke about his own hopes and dreams – including a future playing in the United States.
Neymar Jr’s Five made an instant impact in its debut year in 2016, with more than 10,000 teams and 65,000 players in 47 countries vying for overall victory in the world’s biggest five-a-side football tournament. This time it will be bigger than ever, with regional qualifiers in 53 countries and a rule change giving more players the chance to compete.
The 2017 tournament is again open to teams of five to seven players aged 16 to 25, but for the first time two over-aged players are allowed as part of each squad. Tens of thousands of players will set out with the hope of making it all the way from regional qualifiers to their national final and on to the World Final at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil.
Neymar Jr himself is dreaming too – of more success with FC Barcelona and Brazil in 2017, and a long-term future in the country that excites him most.
“I will always continue to wish peace, health and joy to my family and friends,” Neymar Jr said when asked about his hopes for the future. “On the field, I want to continue having fun as always and as long as I can do that, my year will be good.
“In 2017, I hope to win more games, more titles and to score many more goals – as always. I want to continue evolving as an athlete and to help my team mates on the pitch, both for Barcelona and the Brazilian national team.
“Long term, if I could choose any other country to play in it would be the United States. The culture in the US is incredible, and that really attracts me – as do the amazing cities. It would be a great place to play one day.”
Neymar Jr’s Five provides a unique challenge to players the world over, as every time one team scores, the opposition loses a player. It’s inspired by the street football Neymar Jr himself grew up playing and the Barcelona and Brazil forward cannot wait to see a new season of this remarkable tournament kick off.
“I always played with my friends, using small goals.” he said. “The tournament reminds me of my childhood and I am very proud of it. To win the five-a-side games and outplay them all, you need strategy and a good understanding of what the best moment is to attack and defend. A good defence is very important as well and can bring your team very far in the tournament.”
Brazil’s Anjos da Bola, the 2016 World Champions, were rewarded with a VIP trip to Barcelona, where they got to spend time with Neymar Jr himself at the FC Barcelona training ground. “Meeting the winners was incredible!” said Neymar Jr. “Now I can’t wait to see who makes it through to the 2017 World Final at my Instituto in Brazil.”
Neymar Jr’s Five factfile:
– 10,000 teams took part in the first edition in 2016.
– Altogether, more than 65,000 players were registered
– Tournaments took place in a total of 47 countries in 6 continents
– Regional winners go through to their national final. National winners go through to the Neymar Jr’s Five World Final.
– The 2016 final took place at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil
– The 2016 World Champions were ‘Anjos da Bola’ – Angels of the Ball – aged 20-22 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– The 2017 final will again be played at the home of the Neymar Jr at Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in July
About Neymar Jr’s Five
Neymar Jr’s Five is the Brazilian forward’s signature football tournament – and a truly global phenomenon. Across six continents and more than 50 countries, five-a-side teams battle it out in 10-minute matches with a twist.
Every time one team scores, the opposition loses a player, which makes it fast, technical, tactical – and unique in the world of football. More than 65,000 players from 47 countries signed up to play in the first year of Neymar Jr’s Five and 2017 promises to be even bigger.
This year’s tournament is open to teams of five to seven players aged 16 to 25, and for the first time two over-aged players are allowed in the squad. The teams will set out with the hope of making it all the way from the qualifiers, to their national final and on to the World Final in July 2017, at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil. Sign your team up now – and who knows, you could soon be playing on Neymar Jr’s home turf. Dare to dream.