Neymar predicts Chelsea-bound Estêvão will be a ‘genius’

Brazil star Neymar has predicted Palmeiras teenage forward Estêvão Willian “will be a genius.”

Estêvão will join Chelsea in July 2025 on a permanent transfer from Palmeiras in a deal worth a reported €61.5 million ($66m).

The 17-year-old has impressed for Palmeiras at youth level and was promoted to the first team earlier this year.

”He is a great talent that is emerging in Brazilian football today,” Neymar said of Estêvão.

“I think he’s going to be a genius.”

With Neymar, Brazil’s all-time top scorer, sidelined for Copa América with a knee injury, in-form Real Madrid pair Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo are expected to lead Brazil’s attack.

“Brazil’s key player? For me I think it’s Rodrygo,” Neymar said. “Vini [Vinícius] will play everything he knows but I think Rodrygo is very different. He’s a star and the no. 10 shirt will definitely bring him a lot of luck.”

Rodrygo will wear the No.10 shirt for Brazil at Copa América, a shirt that has been graced in the past by the likes of Pele, Zico, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar.

“I know my responsibility, I know that every day I have to be better,” Rodrygo said.

“I know that the eyes of the whole world will be on me there with that t-shirt, so I’m prepared to continue doing things well to respond to what they expect.

“I always try to make this clear to him [Neymar], that even though I’m wearing the No.10 shirt now, it’s his shirt. I’m just substituting for a moment. People are waiting for him to return.”