#2 He’s the only Brazilian athlete to be on the cover of TIME magazine
This may not seem like a big deal but when you put a 20-year-old on the cover of TIME magazine for being a player to watch out for, it puts one thing into perspective: just how much he was adored and worshipped in his home country.
And to think that he got on the cover even though the likes of Ayrton Senna and Pele – Gods in their own right from Brazil – didn’t, outlines just how marketable he was in his own country – even as someone who just outgrew the tag of being a teenager. This was a huge deal for the Brazilian.
Following the release of this cover, which came out in March of 2013, he secured a move to Barcelona disappointing Real Madrid and Chelsea in the process. The club received two offers for his services but he chose his own future and it was to follow the likes of Lionel Messi at Barcelona.