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Dios Mio, Leo! New Star: Neymar
Adam Duerson
July 22, 2013
One's a wildly talented Energizer bunny who stands for everything beautiful about the game—the guy whose jersey you want your kids to wear. The other's a bit of a punk, all style and no substance—the guy you don't want your sister dating. Argentina's Lionel Messi, 26, and Brazil's Neymar, 21, are star strikers from rival countries and polar opposites ... but lately it's hard to know who is who. One year out from the World Cup in Brazil, the soccer world is witnessing a role reversal that would make Mortimer and Randolph's heads spin. SI charted Messi's sudden downward spiral and Neymar's recent rise and found a curious turning point.
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July 22, 2013

Dios Mio, Leo! New Star: Neymar

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Pelé calls out talented teen for diving: "When he is fouled, he can't make a spectacle of it."

This haircut.

World-club-record 73 goals.

Barça knocked out of Champions League semis 7--0 aggregate to Bayern Munich. Messi sits out second leg for fear of injury.

Brazil: four draws in five friendlies; restless fans boo.

Sits on field, pouts after Mexico upsets Brazil in gold medal game at London Olympics.

Neymar joins Messi at Barça's on $74.4 million transfer.

Stars on Brazilian telenovela; named the most marketable athlete on the planet by SportsPro magazine.

Golazo in Brazil's Confed Cup final win over Spain; collects Golden Ball trophy and named to all-tourney team.

Earns iconic number 10 jersey for Confederations Cup in Brazil; scores tourney's first goal three minutes into opener.

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