Confederations Cup – Player Profiles: Hulk and Neymar, Brazil

Hulk

This is a big tournament for 26-year-old Hulk, the chance to remind everyone of why he is highly rated. He might have captured the attention of Chelsea already in this transfer window, but after a disappointing first campaign in Russia for Zenit St Petersburg, his stock has taken a knock in the world game.

Hulk has shown good versatility in his career. He can either cut in from the wings to cause trouble, or play as a lone striker, which attributes to his outstanding goalscoring record with Porto.

You can’t argue with his trophy haul. He won 10 major titles in Portugal, including the Europa League in 2011, so he knows how to win matches and titles, and that’s a good thing.

However, Hulk looks like one of those players who you never know what you are going to get. On some days, he is almost totally unplayable and can really make a difference. Liverpool fans can vouch for that, as it was his away goal at Anfield in February that ended their Europa League challenge in the last campaign.

On other occasions though, he doesn’t seem completely interested, although that might be more down to playing in a more withdrawn role at Zenit, plus acclimatising to a new country.

He seems to save his best form for the national side. Hulk made his international debut in November 2009 against England in Doha. His international form is consistently good, he is happy to play anywhere for his country and he usually produces the goods. Plus, Hulk has become a regular fixture in the international setup, no matter who the manager is.

He was the only Brazilian player who came out of the Olympics final with some partial credit, scoring a late goal and looking like the only player up for the showpiece event at Wembley last summer against Mexico.

Hulk is a real wildcard of a footballer, but everyone should expect him to bring his ‘A’ game to this tournament.

Neymar

There will be plenty of eyes on new Barcelona forward Neymar when the Confederations Cup begins in Brazil later in the month.

Neymar signs in at Barcelona

The Catalans paid Santos £48.6m to acquire the services of the forward on a five-year contract. The world will see just how really good this player is next season, but we should get a good indication of his global stature in this international tournament coming up.

Neymar has the ability to change a match, and not many players can do that on an individual basis. To see his real genuine quality, search Neymar Goals on YouTube, and there is bound to be moments of breath-taking ability to be witnessed.

With appreciation of his teammates, the dynamite finisher has won critical acclaim from club and international supporters, the media and some of the greats of the world game. If the greatest of them all Pele calls you an ‘excellent player,’ then you can’t be doing much wrong.

Neymar is still a young talent who is continuously learning, and the Brazilian league has been a good path for him to start at. The move into La Liga is exciting for all Barca fans and for the whole of Europe generally. We’ve heard so much about this precocious talent, so now let’s see it for real. He has already found the net 20 times for Brazil since being capped aged just 18 after their quarter-final exit in Port Elizabeth at the last World Cup.

Any team that has Neymar in their ranks has to be considered as dangerous. He has won league titles, and the South American Footballer of the Year award, but so far, nothing on the international scene.

He was part of the team that failed to deliver in the Copa America two years ago, and only showed flashes of his capability at the Olympics last summer. The striking haircut he had for February’s match against England at Wembley seemed to make more of an impact.

Consistency is the main attribute missing from Neymar’s game. The World Cup pre-tournament event would show a real signal of intent, not just to Barcelona, but the world in general.

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