Neymar and Gabriel Medina back in action: How their bromance started
The Brazilian sports stars friendship goes beyond social media and representing the same country.
Neymar is back. And so is his friend, surfing world champion Gabriel Medina.
The Brazilian football superstar returned from injury on Sunday, to help French cub, Paris Saint-Germain clinch the Ligue 1 title with a 3-1 victory over Monaco.
The 27-year-old played the entire second half, in his first competitive match since suffering a metatarsal injury in January.
Meanwhile Medina, the 2018 WSL World Champion is surfing at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia, in a bid to win his third crown since 2014.
But how did this bromance all start?
On the surface some may think the sporting royalty's friendship is for 'show', but there's more than enough evidence to suggest this friendship is the real deal.
In fact it spans over 10 years.
The pair met at Medina’s 14th or 15th birthday after the surfer expressed an interest in meeting the footballer.
“My manager told [Neymar] I wanted to meet him, and then he pretty much organized it,” Medina told NBC sports in December. “I met [Neymar] first time at his house in Santos.”
The surfer also gifted a surfboard to his new friend.
The rest is history.
“Really good friend outside of the beach and inside of the beach and on the soccer fields,” Medina told NBC sports. “He put a lot of work in and is one of the best. It’s good to have a friend like that.”
On the same wavelength
From playing poker, to trading jerseys and supporting each other in competition, these two go way back.
And it's fair to assume they understand the pressure each other is under as professional athletes.
Speaking to Surfer.com in 2014, Neymar said, ''From what I know of Gabriel, he is a very focused and he knows what he wants for his life and career. The pressure will always exist for an athlete that's always competing. Anxiety will always get you, but our dream speaks louder.''
The pictures say it all
It doesn't take much scrolling on Instagram to see, that despite their busy schedules, the duo spend a lot of time together.
Medina watched his friend at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but missed seeing Neymar make history for Brazil.
The surfer had to leave to compete in Tahiti, as Neymar went on to kick the gold medal winning penalty against Germany.
Medina will be hoping to follow his countryman's winnings ways when surfing make's it's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
After last year's FIFA World Cup, Neymar made the effort to be on the beach supporting Medina at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Although Medina was defeated in the semi-final, he went on to win his second world tile in December in Hawaii.
While at the event in 2018, the footballer told the WSL, ''Everybody knows the talent he has in the sea, in surfing, but the greatness he has is because of the person he is. He’s a happy, smiling guy, a family-guy and a friend. I think this is what makes him different. He has greatness on his heart.''
Speaking of family, Neymar has one sister and she is said to call Medina her brother.
When the two-time world champion returned home to Brazil, he got a hero's welcome with thousands of fans greeting him at the airport followed by a parade.
Neymar was also on hand to help ring in the celebrations.
It's clear the duo enjoy celebrating together and what better way to do that than in Tokyo next year.
The Tokyo 2020 surfing qualification period started in April and Medina will have a difficult task of earning one of the two available spots for Brazilian men.
The competition is stiff with the likes of fellow Brazilians Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo and William Cardoso and Michael Rodrigues.
Brazil's football team wants to defend their Olympic gold and hope Neymar will be leading the charge.
The reigning Olympic champions need to qualify via the Under 23 Pre-Olymic tournament in Columbia in January 2020.