Art

Neymar Mural Goes Up in Miami Just in Time for the World Cup

Neymar Mural Goes Up in Miami Just in Time for the World Cup
Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Brandan Odums didn’t have to guess what passersby thought of the 10,000-square-foot mural he was painting of Brazilian soccer stud Neymar in Brickell. This is Miami. They let him know without being asked.

“There were people who were excited and screaming, ‘Go, Brazil!'” the New Orleans-based Odums says. “There were a few people who were not fans of Neymar [who] would scream out what team they were fans of. I was excited that it was getting such a response. A majority of people were excited to see it was Neymar.”

The hard-to-miss artwork on the corner of SW Eighth Street and SW First Avenue is one of three murals commissioned by the sports website Bleacher Report to coincide with the World Cup, which is set to kick off Thursday in Russia. Odums also painted murals of France’s Paul Pogba in New Orleans and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in New York.

The 26-year-old Neymar — considered by many to be the best player not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi — can be seen looking off to the side with the Brazilian flag behind him in the mural. His always-changing hairdo is depicted with a collage of images of himself. The mural took Odums three days to complete, in addition to the three or four days that painters spent filling in the massive background flag.


“The thought was that it was a corner building and there was nothing directly next to where the portrait would be,” Odums says. “I wanted him to be looking off into the distance to show that it takes a certain level of focus to play at the level that he does.”
click to enlarge COURTESY OF BLEACHER REPORT
Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Neymar has a history with Miami, having played exhibition matches here over the years with both Brazil and former club Barcelona. During his visits, Neymar — who reportedly signed a five-year, $350 million deal with Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 — has taken in a Miami Heat game, partied with Drake at the Versace Mansion, and appeared at the Nike Miami store. Also, the U.S. final for Neymar’s five-a-side soccer tournament has taken place in Miami the past three years, including this past weekend.

If you plan to snap a pic of the Neymar mural — and why wouldn’t you? —  post it on social media and include the hashtag #LargerThanLife. You could win a chance to attend Steve Nash’s celebrity soccer game in New York June 20, courtesy of Bleacher Report.

“I love the location because it’s in downtown Miami,” Bleacher Report senior producer Ryan O’Leary says of the Neymar mural. “It’s a huge space — 10,000 square feet. And as people come out of the mall and off the highway, it just smacks you in the face. We want people to take notice.”
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Luis Gomez left his life in Chicago to backpack around the world and has since dedicated himself to freelance writing, with Miami now his home base. You can read about his global adventures on his travel blog, Extra Underwear.