Top soccer players to watch in Rio
Neymar is appearing in his second Olympics after helping Brazil to a silver medal at the 2012 Games. He scored three goals at the London Olympics and is hoping for similar production this summer. Brazil’s hopes of winning its first Olympic soccer gold medal on home soil rest squarely on his shoulders as the nation’s most popular and talented player.
Last summer, Carli Lloyd led the U.S. to its first World Cup title since 1999. She scored six goals in the tournament, including a hat trick in the World Cup final.
A year later, Lloyd is the leader of the U.S. women’s national team alongside co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn. Her leadership and experience is essential to the U.S.' chances of winning its fourth straight Olympic women’s soccer gold as the team has 11 players making their Olympic debut.
Lloyd is no stranger to Olympic success. She has scored the gold-medal winning goals at the last two Olympic finals.
Marta is a five-time FIFA Player of the Year and the most famous women’s soccer player in Brazil. The two-time Olympic silver medalist is appearing in her fourth Olympics . At last summer’s World Cup she became the all-time leading scorer at the tournament with 15 goals. Marta is looking to add to her tally of 8 Olympic goals at this summer’s Games.
Alex Morgan made a name for herself at the London Olympics when she scored the dramatic game-winning goal in the 123rd minute of the Olympic semifinal against Canada.
Four years later, Morgan and Team USA are appearing at a major tournament without all-time leading scorer Abby Wambach for the first time since 2008. The U.S. forwards, now led by Morgan, need to replace the production of Wambach for the U.S. to win gold in Rio.
Oribe Peralta scored four goals in his Olympic debut at the 2012 Games as an overage player for Mexico. In the Gold Medal Match, he scored both of the team’s goals to help Mexico win its first Olympic soccer gold medal. Peralta, 32, is back with Mexico as an overage player to help Mexico defend its Olympic title. Although he is one of the older players at the tournament, Peralta is a still a goal-scoring threat with valuable experience in international soccer.