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更新时间:2014-6-9 13:01:31 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Brazil's Neymar on the Weight of the World Cup

PELÉ WAS LATE, then very late, but now Pelé is here, at the Apple store in New York's SoHo neighborhood, on a warm spring night. The Brazilian soccer legend is 73 but still looks fit, or at least close to fit, cutting through the room in a slick gray suit and black turtleneck, a gold crucifix settled in the middle of his chest. Back in the 1970s, when Pelé was putting an epilogue to his brilliant international career with a stint on the New York Cosmos, he was no stranger to the dance floor at Studio 54. Pelé may no longer compete in soccer, but he looks ready for Studio 54.

贝利(Pele)迟到了,而且还迟到了好一会儿,但他终归还是来了。在一个温暖的春日晚间,贝利现身于位于纽约苏豪区(SoHo)的一家苹果(Apple)门店。这位巴西足球传奇人物现在已是73 岁高龄,但看起来仍很健壮,或者说至少接近健壮的状态。他身着一件时髦的灰色西装和黑色高领毛衣穿过房间,胸前正中央还挂着一个黄金十字架。将时光追溯至20世纪70年代,当贝利在纽约宇宙队(New York Cosmos)度过其辉煌国际职业生涯的尾声时,他可是Studio 54舞池的常客。如今贝利可能不会再参加足球比赛了,但看他的架势,随时出入Studio 54是没有问题的。

He is here at the Apple store to talk about his new app (of course), called King of Football (of course), but the futebol-heads are here, rows deep near the Genius Bar, because they want to hear O Rei talk about his soccer life and what he thinks of the state of the game today. They want to know Pelé's opinions about the great Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. They want to hear what Pelé will say about the World Cup being played this summer in soccer-mad Brazil for the first time in 64 years. And because of who Pelé is and where he's from, the conversation will inevitably turn to another name: Neymar.

他今天在苹果店里是要谈论他的新应用(当然了),这款应用名叫足球之王(King of Football)(也是理所当然),但球迷们也赶到这儿来,在天才吧(Genius Bar)附近排起了长队,因为他们想听一听球王(O Rei)谈谈自己的足球生涯以及他对于足球现状的看法。他们想知道贝利对于这些伟大球员——巴塞罗那队(Barcelona)的里奥内尔·梅西(Lionel Messi)以及皇家马德里(Real Madrid)的克里斯蒂亚诺·罗纳尔多(Cristiano Ronaldo)——的看法。而今夏的世界杯将于64年来首次在痴迷足球的国度巴西举办,他们也想听一听贝利会对此说些什么。由于贝利的身份和出处,这场对话将不可避免地转向另一个名字:内马尔(Neymar)。

As in Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, the 22-year-old prince of Brazilian soccer, one of the most electric and creative players in the modern game, first a star at Pelé's former club, Brazil's Santos, now in his debut year at fabled powerhouse Barcelona. It is an occupational hazard of Brazilian soccer that the country's young goal-scoring sensations will no doubt be compared to Pelé--a standard of excellence that seems unreachable, if not borderline cruel, and causes many phenoms to shrink. Neymar himself is wise enough to leave it alone. 'For me it is a pleasure to be compared to a great player like Pelé,' he says. 'But he is the King of Football. I am just a boy who wants to play soccer.'

内马尔·达·席尔瓦·桑托斯·儒尼奥尔(Neymar da Silva Santos Junior)——这位22岁的巴西足球王子是当今足坛最令人兴奋、最富创造力的球员之一,之前是巴西桑托斯俱乐部(Brazil's Santos)的一位明星,而贝利也曾在该俱乐部踢过球。如今,内马尔加盟豪门巴塞罗那队,现在还未满一年。巴西年轻的足球新秀无一例外都会被拿来与贝利作比较,这对于巴西球员来说是一种职业危害。贝利,是卓越的标杆,而这种卓越即便称不上苛刻,那也是看来不可企及的,这导致许多杰出球员黯然失色。对此,内马尔自己倒是机智地将话题叉开:“对我来说,能与像贝利这样的伟大球员相提并论,是一种荣幸。但贝利是球王,我只是一个想踢足球的男生。”

If only the job were so simple and humble. In June Neymar is getting an opportunity even the King never had: to lead Brazil in a World Cup played at home. It is a launchpad almost comical in its exuberance and expectation, a stirring chance for Neymar to bring glory to his country and elevate himself from young sensation to soccer legend. As if to underline the stakes, Neymar has been assigned the No. 10 jersey, Pelé's old number, typically given to Brazil's best playmaker. The pressure on the host team is intense, almost overbearing, and much of it will land upon the lithe shoulders of a dynamic young forward who tugs his socks above his knees and owns a head of fantastic, malleable hair.


Here in New York, I ask Pelé the question of the moment: Is Neymar ready for this massive assignment, leading Brazil in Brazil? The King pauses. He begins by recalling his own experience in his first World Cup, in 1958 in Sweden, when he was only 17. Back then Brazil had yet to win the global tournament (they would go on to win five) and Pelé (who would get three of them) wasn't a household name; he was just a youngster on a roster. 'We didn't have this pressure,' Pelé says. 'It was not my responsibility to win the World Cup.'


It is different for Neymar, Pelé says. He is being tasked with this responsibility. He is being asked to bring Brazil a World Cup at home. It is a heavy request, surely unfair. But it's being asked. Because this is soccer.


WE GET IT and we don't get it. The United States hasn't been a soccer backwater for a long time--international games are plentiful on the Internet and live television, Major League Soccer offers a healthy domestic option, Messi's 10 is easy to find on youth soccer fields--but sometimes it's as if we can't comprehend how big the sport is on the rest of the planet. We have our own sports idols here. We have LeBron and Peyton and Jeter and Serena, and they are famous and fabulously wealthy, to the point that it's hard for them to go to the mall. But international soccer fame is a different species. It's cartoonish fame, seven-continent stuff. No Kardashian can keep up with a David Beckham or a Messi or a Ronaldo. 'It's really hard to overstate how famous the most famous soccer players are on a global scale,' says George Quraishi, co-editor of the U.S. soccer magazine Howler.

对于足球,我们是似懂非懂。在这项运动上,美国很长一段时间都不再是一潭沉寂的死水——网络上和电视上直播的国际赛事丰富多彩。美国职业足球大联盟(Major League Soccer)也在国内提供了大量的选择,在青年足球领域也很容易找到梅西的10号——但有时,我们好像还是无法理解这项体育运动在世界其他地方到底有多重要。我们在美国拥有自己的体育偶像。我们有勒布朗(LeBron)、佩顿(Peyton)、基特(Jeter)以及小威廉姆斯(Serena),他们声名显赫且极其富有,甚至有名到了难以出门去商场的地步。

This attention reaches absurd extremes amid a World Cup--a fervent, tribal, maniacal event, one month of worldwide obsession, held every four years. 'If you think about human history, how many truly great global shared experiences we have--maybe going back to the dinosaurs going extinct--I'm hard pressed to think of an event more people are paying attention to,' Quraishi says, and he is being only slightly hyperbolic. The last World Cup final, in 2010 between Spain and the Netherlands, was watched by an estimated 700 million people, which makes the Super Bowl seem like open-mike night at a coffee shop.

但国际足坛的“有名”则是一个完全不同的概念。它是一种卡通式的名声,是一种遍及七大洲的东西。名媛卡戴珊(Kardashian)是永远无法比肩大卫·贝克汉姆(David Beckham)、梅西或罗纳尔多(Ronaldo)的。美国足球杂志Howler的编辑乔治·库雷希(George Quraishi)说:“很难用言语表达出那些最有名的足球运动员到底在全球有多有名。”这种关注在世界杯期间达到了一种荒谬的极端的程度。世界杯是一场长达一个月之久、让人为之狂热、上演着国与国之间对抗的全球性盛事,每四年才举办一次。库雷希说:“如果你回想一下人类历史,我们到底有多少全球共享的大活动——那可能要追溯至恐龙灭绝事件了——我很难再想起任何一件事是会有更多人来共同关注的。”库雷希的说法只是稍稍有点夸张。上届世界杯决赛,也就是2010年西班牙对阵荷兰的那场比赛,估计共有七亿人观看了冠亚之争,相较之下,超级碗(Super Bowl)赛事就像某家咖啡店里的开放式表演晚会。

If Neymar is feeling the strain of what's before him in the World Cup, he has yet to reveal it in public. 'We suffer pressure in all of the things we do,' he says in an interview conducted over email. 'It's normal in life, but if you're an athlete, this pressure is bigger because you are an example for many people. I suffer pressure since I decided to become a player, but it's a pleasure for me to play a World Cup in my country to my people.'


This upbeat attitude is quintessential Neymar: optimistic, playful, openhearted. He is hardly an unknown, but his fame seems to be in its opening stage--shiny and fresh, like a new car in the driveway. He has 10.4 million Twitter followers and 4.7 million followers on Instagram, where his feed is a steady stream of irreverent selfies and portraits from the soccer road. His digital presence also makes it easy to follow the spiky evolution of Neymar's influential hairstyle, which has ranged from a dyed-blond Mohawk to its current restrained status, shaved tightly at the sides with sweeping bangs combed gently onto his forehead. (The Internet teems with 'How to Cut Your Hair Like Neymar' tutorials.) Neymar describes his fashion style as comfortable. 'I like to wear tennis shorts, T-shirts, caps,' he says. 'But it depends on the occasion. I like a suit and tie in special moments.'


Roger Bennett, who covers soccer for ESPN and serves as cohost of the popular soccer podcast Men in Blazers, describes Neymar as 'a footballer for the YouTube age' and argues that his soccer talent was 'made for digital shorts.' Neymar began his professional career with Santos at age 17, and Bennett believes that his worldwide reputation grew principally through short video clips, perfect for dissemination on social media. (An essential Neymar YouTube moment features the player scoring a goal for Santos and then retrieving a Neymar mask from the crowd, affixing it to his own face and running around in celebration.) Far from the European soccer hothouse, a mystique began to grow around this ethereal, willowy talent. 'We didn't see him week to week,' Bennett says. 'We saw YouTube clips of him slaloming like an eel between defenders.' Elusiveness while dribbling is Neymar's signature talent: The two-time NBA MVP and well-known soccer obsessive Steve Nash (a part owner of the MLS Vancouver franchise) describes Neymar's movement to me as 'from another planet. Unparalleled fluidity combined with speed and creativity make him one of the most exciting athletes there is, period.'

在娱乐体育节目电视网(ESPN)做足球报道同时也是流行足球播客节目Men in Blazers搭档主持人的罗杰·班尼特(Roger Bennett)这样形容内马尔:“为YouTube时代而生的一名球员”,他还称,内马尔的足球天分是“为数字短片而造的”。内马尔在17岁那年在桑托斯队开始了自己的职业生涯,而班尼特认为,他在全世界范围内的知名度主要是通过视频短片扩展起来的,它们特别适合在社交网站上散播宣传。(一部不容错过的、有关内马尔的YouTube视频记录了他为桑托斯出战射进一球的时刻,接着他在人群中找到了一张内马尔面具、将面具戴在自己脸上后便四处奔跑庆祝。)因为远离欧洲足球温室,围绕着这位身材高挑、难以捉摸的天才球员的神秘感开始增加。班尼特说:“我们并不是周周都能看到他。我们只能看到他的YouTube短片,他在场上迂回跑动,就像一条穿梭在后卫间的鳗鱼。”飘忽不定、巧妙闪避却又能盘带控球,这是内马尔标志性的天分:知名足球迷(美国职业足球大联盟温哥华特许经营权共有人)、两次获得美国职业篮球联赛(NBA)最有价值球员(MVP)称号的史蒂夫·纳什(Steve Nash)在我面前将内马尔的移动形容为“来自另一个星球。无与伦比的流畅性、结合了速度与创造性,这使他成为了这个时代最令人兴奋的运动员之一”。

Neymar, who grew up idolizing his Santos predecessor, Robinho, and the Brazilian-born tennis star Gustavo Kuerten, says that Brazilians 'play with happiness, with emotion, and we have an expression--com o coração na ponta da chuteira,' which translates roughly to 'with the heart at the tip of the cleat.' (Neymar communicates this to me in Portuguese, with the help of a translator.) His persuasive performance at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil--where the host team won the title and Neymar was named the tournament's best player--fueled his homeland's emotional connection to him. Last year also brought the move to Barcelona, for a reported 57 million--euro transfer fee (about $78.8 million), a figure still in dispute and controversial, with Santos claiming it received only a fraction of that price and Neymar's father, Neymar da Silva Sr., under siege for taking a substantial payment of his own. Neymar's transition into Barcelona is considered a work in progress, as he tries to integrate himself into a club with many players who have practiced together since adolescence, and which already has an alpha superstar in Messi. 'It's like a move from being a famous child star to being an adult star,' says Bennett, who compares it to Justin Bieber's trying to morph into Justin Timberlake. 'He's trying to do the Timberlake.'

内马尔在成长期间就将他在桑托斯的前辈罗比尼奥(Robinho)以及巴西出生的网球明星古斯塔沃·库尔滕(Gustavo Kuerten)视为自己的偶像,他说巴西人“是带着快乐和情感在玩足球,我们有这样一种说法——com o coracao na ponta da chuteira”,翻译过来大概就是“防滑鞋尖上的心灵”的意思。(内马尔和我此次交谈时说的是葡萄牙语,我们的沟通是在一名翻译的帮助下进行的。)内马尔最令人诚服的表现是在2013年在巴西举行的国际足联联合会杯足球赛(FIFA Confederations Cup)——东道主队夺冠,内马尔当选联合会杯的最佳球员——这燃起了其家乡在情感上与他的连结。同年,内马尔转会到了巴塞罗那,据报道转会费高达5,700万欧元(折合人民币约4.85亿元),这一数目至今仍存有争议,桑托斯俱乐部声称他们只收到了一小部分的钱,而内马尔的父亲老内马尔·达·席尔瓦(Neymar da Silva Sr.)则被群起而攻之,据说是他自己吞拿了儿子可观的转会费。内马尔正在尝试融入的是这样一个俱乐部——在这里,许多球员从青少年期就开始一起训练,而且已经有了之前的巨星梅西——所以他转会巴塞罗那这个过程仍没有结束。班尼特说:“这就像是从一个有名的小孩儿变为一名成人明星。”他还将这种转变与贾斯汀·比伯(Justin Bieber)尝试变成贾斯汀·汀布莱克(Justin Timberlake)作了比较:“他正在试着成为汀布莱克。”

As Neymar's profile continues to expand, the World Cup has the potential to be transformative. Brazil has won five Cups, more than any other country, but not since 2002. This will be Neymar's first World Cup. Brazilians engineered a petition to put him on the roster for the 2010 competition in South Africa, but the coach decided the 18-year-old was too inexperienced and held him off the team. At the moment, Neymar is featured in a Nike advertisement starring Ronaldo and England's Wayne Rooney. The spot is entitled 'Risk Everything' and features Neymar riding in a bus surrounded by frantic countrymen. A radio announcer asks: 'The question is, can Neymar live up to the No. 10 legend?' Neymar has been with Nike since 2007--the apparel company signed him when he was 15--and he now has relationships with 19 other brands, including Volkswagen, Panasonic and Red Bull. 'He's just one of the most exciting young talents in the game,' says Dermott Cleary, Nike's vice president and general manager of soccer.

内马尔的个人履历还在不断完善的过程中,这次的世界杯可能会是一个重大的转折点。巴西已五次世界杯夺冠,比其他任何一个国家都多,但从2002年起就再也没有登上过冠军宝座。而今年,将是内马尔第一次参加世界杯。巴西人曾进行过一次请愿,要求将他加入2010年出征南非世界杯的球队名单中去,但教练认为,这位时年18岁的小将还太缺乏经验,没有将他纳入球队名单。最近,内马尔出现在了一则由罗纳尔多和英格兰球星韦恩·鲁尼(Wayne Rooney)主演的耐克(Nike)广告中。这则广告名为“不惜一切去冒险”,片中内马尔坐在公共汽车中,四周全是狂热的同胞。一位广播员问道:“问题是,10号战袍的传奇,内马尔能当之无愧吗?”自2007年起,内马尔就一直和耐克合作——耐克在他15岁的时候就签下了他——而如今,他已经和其他19个品牌在进行合作,其中包括大众(Volkswagen)、松下(Panasonic)和红牛(Red Bull)。耐克副总裁、足球业务总经理德莫特·克利里(Dermott Cleary)说:“他是足球运动中最令人兴奋的年轻天才球员之一。”

He is still young. Given everything rushing toward Neymar, it's essential to remember this. He is still young enough to have bad days and weeks and to make youthful mistakes--Pelé lately has hounded him about his tendency to take too many dives on the soccer field. He likes to play cards, video games, hang out with friends. His favorite musical group is the samba band Grupo Revelação. His favorite movie is The Pursuit of Happyness, a 2006 film in which Will Smith plays a salesman lifting himself out of homelessness. Until earlier this year there was a girlfriend, Bruna Marquezine, a Brazilian actress and model. Neymar also has a son, age 2, from a previous relationship.

他还很年轻。由于现在内马尔是核心是焦点,所以记住这一点至关重要。他还那么年轻,也许还会有些糟糕的时日,也许还会犯下年轻人会犯的错误——贝利最近还就内马尔在足球场上过多猛冲这一点进行了劝诫。内马尔喜欢玩牌、打电子游戏、与朋友们出去逛。他最喜欢的音乐团体是桑巴乐队Grupo Revelacao,最喜欢的电影是《当幸福来敲门》(The Pursuit of Happyness),这部于2006年上映的影片讲述了由威尔·史密斯(Will Smith)扮演的一位推销员走出无家可归困境的故事。他的前女友是巴西演员、模特儿布鲁娜·马尔科辛(Bruna Marquezine),两人于今年早些时候分手。内马尔还有一个儿子,今年两岁,是他与再前一位女友所生的。

There is so much time left in his career. Neymar can afford to be patient. Can soccer be the same? Neymar's nearest ambition is the World Cup, and there should be other chances after Brazil, but the opportunity before him is irresistible, even if the stakes feel ludicrous. Brazil's coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, recently accused the Spanish media covering Barcelona of trying to unsettle Neymar before the World Cup begins, in order to benefit reigning World Cup champion Spain. The pressure is pushing from all sides. Neymar understands it. This is the scale of the sport he has chosen. 'Soccer is in the soul of the Brazilian people,' he says. This summer, Neymar hopes to find his own place in that soul.

内马尔的足球生涯来日方长。他可以不急不躁慢慢来。但足球也可以慢慢来吗?内马尔最近的目标就是巴西世界杯,而在世界杯之后也应该会有其他的一些机会,但摆在他面前的这个良机是无法抗拒的,即使这次赌注看起来有点荒谬。巴西队的教练路易斯·菲利佩·斯科拉里(Luiz Felipe Scolari)近来指责报道巴塞罗那队的西班牙媒体试图在世界杯前夕扰乱内马尔的心绪,以使卫冕冠军西班牙从中获益。压力来自各个方面,内马尔对此完全了解。这正是他自己选择的体育运动。他说:“足球是巴西人的灵魂。”这个夏天,内马尔希望能够在这个灵魂中找到属于他自己的位置。