By an odd quirk in this universe in which we live, four of the best footballers on the planet — in particular, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar — were born on the same day of the year: February 5.
Four #UCL heroes celebrate their birthdays today!Cristiano Ronaldo (34)
Carlos Tévez (35)
Gheorghe Hagi (54)
Who's your favourite? pic.twitter.com/8lIpDZLkoa
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 5, 2019
Ronaldo celebrated turning 34 with two goals and an assist on Saturday.
Neymar celebrated turning 27 by walking around on crutches, tearing up at his birthday party and crying woe is me.
It was beautiful.
If you’re a fan of the world’s game, chances are Neymar crying is a large part of your life. It certainly is for us.
We aren’t here to pass judgment on one’s proclivity to weep publically. Once upon a time it was considered a sign of weakness for men to cry, but we as a society have evolved beyond that primitive thinking.
But there’s something about having a big birthday party and choosing that moment to cry that is so charmingly Neymar.
Neymar turned 27 on Tuesday, a prime age for athletic excellence. His club, PSG, plays Manchester United in a week in the richest of the eight Round of 16 Champions League ties.
But Neymar won’t be involved. Once again, he’s been sidelined with a foot injury. The Brazilian was taken down in a Ligue 1 match against Strasbourg on Jan. 23, the target of physical abuse from the opposing team. It’s another metatarsal injury, the same type that sidelined Neymar for most of last spring.
It’s a devastating blow for Neymar and his teammates; you can’t blame the young man for shedding some tears over another long injury layoff.
And we love that he chose to do it in front of his closest friends and family at a sponsored birthday party on Monday.
Neymar is known for having lavish birthday parties, both for himself and his sister. Full of beautiful, wealthy people, his party was a stark contrast to Ronaldo’s birthday last year.
This year the theme of Neymar’s birthday party on Monday night appears to have been “Red Bull Red Night” and attendees seemed to have a good time, at least once they got inside away from the red carpet. There was live music, singing and dancing — even Neymar didn’t let his crutches get in the way of him shaking his rump on stage.
Neymar Jr at his birthday party with Dani Alves and Kylian Mbappé pic.twitter.com/8X09ASbwfm— Brazil Football (@BrazilEdition2) February 5, 2019
Neymar paints Paris red for his birthday party. pic.twitter.com/2uBakPho4M— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) February 5, 2019
But the mood turned somber when Neymar took the mic and spoke about some birthday wishes. In particular, he wants a new metatarsal.
Neymar wished for “a new metatarsal” in his tearful 27th birthday speech. pic.twitter.com/oVzjodkPhR— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 5, 2019
Birthday parties have an innate awkwardness to them seeing as it’s a bunch of people gathered to celebrate one person. Fortunately, when you have a birthday boy like Neymar, that’s not an issue.
The Brazilian took a metaphorical dive at his own party. We love it.
It takes a certain kind of greatness to cry woe is me at your own 27th birthday party surrounded by loved ones and Red Bull. Neymar is finally living up to his potential as a Brazilian all-time great.
Admittedly, it’s a bit hard to empathize with a footballer who has just about everything you could ask for: a great career, a loving family, more money than he’ll ever need and even a comic book super hero in his likeness.
But it’s his damn birthday party; he can do whatever the hell he wants.
And let’s be honest here: No one actually wants Neymar to be injured. Well, except maybe Manchester United fans, the rest of Ligue 1 and everyone who thinks he dives too much. But besides that, the remaining five people would prefer him to be healthy, bringing joy to the footballing world with his inimitable style.
Sadly, magic isn’t real and Neymar’s birthday wish for a new metatarsal won’t come true.
Happy Birthday, Cristiano Ronaldo!... And Neymar pic.twitter.com/NILWl3PIGq
— Goal (@goal) February 5, 2019