neymarPublic Enemy once urged us all to not believe the hype, but then again, one of their leading members was a midget with a clock strung around his neck. When it comes to Neymar, the hype is very much justified.
As football's great and good - or what passes for them in a world where the magnificent Phil Brown is unemployed - gathered in Japan for the Club World Cup, it was rather inescapable that the tournament would become the Neymar show. And when the leading protagonist is this good, why not?
To be brutally honest, the only reason why most people tuned in to see Santos beat Kashiwa Reysol on Wednesday was to catch a glimpse of a player who has set tongues wagging across the world. A player who, it is universally recognised, has the world at his feet.
A player who even saw fit to resist the lure of Real Madrid and Chelsea during the summer in order to stay in Brazil. Just think, he could have been sat alongside Romelu Lukaku on the bench at Stamford Bridge all these months.
And, for the first half at least, he didn't disappoint with a performance of real verve.
The young forward clearly saw this as a chance to add a few more zeros to his demands when he finally does make the move to Europe and demonstrated just why he is so in demand.
Inside two minutes he was juggling and pulling out stepovers, inside six minutes he had hit the post and inside 20 minutes he had scored the opening goal with a quite wonderful effort.
It was quite the statement of intent from a man who has been firmly designated the next big thing in Brazil, the heir to the legacy of Pele, Romario and Ronaldo.
But far from being the consummate finisher, there is a playfulness infused throughout Neymar's approach to the game. In that respect it is perhaps Garrincha who he takes after.
Either way, the fact we are making such comparisons at all demonstrates just what a special player we are talking about.
He is the kind of player that is all too rare in the modern game, a maverick, always willing to try the seemingly impossible, a player who plays with great joy. Basically the anti-Gareth Barry.
As Santos coach Muricy Ramalho said yesterday: "As you could see, Neymar is that kind of player. He is a man who can decide the match by putting on a gorgeous show."
If Neymar were a car, he would be a Ferrari. The epitome of flashy luxury. A status symbol. Inescapably mesmerising but also devastatingly effective.
It is therefore no surprise that Europe's biggest clubs are busy sticking out their elbows and jostling for position. Even Barcelona's scouts, watching with a view to the final at the weekend, must have started daydreaming about seeing the Brazilian in the Blaugrana shirt.
It is no exaggeration to say that he would grace the Barca side, even if Madrid appears a more likely destination at present. Wherever he ends up, he is destined to make quite the impact. Pele, who preceded him by emerging from the Santos academy, believes Neymar is a better player than even Lionel Messi.
He said recently: "For me the two are technically very good, but Neymar is more complete because he shoots with both feet, and dribbles from both sides."
Mind you, football's leading ambassador in the fight against erectile dysfunction also said Nicky Butt was the best player at the 2002 World Cup.
Neymar himself is relishing the chance to face Barca, who take on Al-Sadd today. "It would be great if we can play Barcelona," he said. "I will cheer for them."
If he does manage to take Barca apart in the final then it will only enhance a reputation that has already been greatly swelled by a proliferation of YouTube links winging their way around the world every other week.
After all, what better audition for a future Madrid player than stopping Barcelona win yet more silverware?
What is certain is that Neymar will once again be the centre of attention when Santos do play in the final. He was certainly the focus of some rough treatment from Reysol's defenders on Wednesday.
As defender Hiroki Sakai admitted: "You can only stop Neymar by fouling him." And sometimes not even then.
We may never know the true genius of the man until he suffers a wet Wednesday night at Stoke of course, but all the signs point to this being a rare talent.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I was about to take a corner and I was getting pelted with everything - lighters, Euro coins. I was thinking of picking one up and putting it in my sock! I didn't want to take it because every second I could see things flying past me. Until that stopped I didn't feel comfortable taking the corner and then the referee called me away. I've played here before so I know what the atmosphere is like." - Stoke's Jermaine Pennant laughs off the fact he was pelted with missiles during the club's Europa League defeat to Besiktas on Wednesday night. Stoke say they will not lodge an official complaint.
FOREIGN VIEW: "Marca lie. I have not spoken to David after the last match in Madrid, but all of the players are in my plans. I am the one who comes up with 25 different line-ups during the season because I feel that is the best thing to do. Most of the players that are here now will continue for the rest of this season and the next. I wish I could play with 15 players on a team because then everyone could play." - Pep Guardiola denies he is planning to sell David Villa. Given Marca linked the forward with Aston Villa on Wednesday, Early Doors endorses Pep's description of the Spanish rag.
COMING UP: Barcelona take on Al-Sadd in the Club World Cup at 10.30am, while three British teams are in Europa League action: Tottenham face Shamrock Rovers, Celtic travel to Udinese and Birmingham host Maribor.
We have the second part of our exclusive interview with Gerard Houllier as the former Liverpool boss discusses his sporting heroes, though strangely Bernard Diomede is conspicuous by his absence. Arsene Wenger also talks about the Champions League, while Never Mind the Ballacks fill us in on events in Germany.