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Olympics Soccer: 5 athletes to watch

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Brazil's Neymar (l.) celebrates his goal during their Olympic tuneup match against Great Britain at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, England, Friday.

Scott Heppell/AP

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2. Neymar, Brazil

For the men, the importance of the Olympics pales in comparison to the World Cup, mostly because teams are allowed only three players over age 23. But in Neymar, Brazil is bringing one of the world's top talents, regardless of age. The cornerstone of the Brazilian senior national team (though only 20) and coveted by Europe's big-spending professional clubs like Barcelona, Neymar is seen to be soccer's next big thing.

He leads a Brazilian team teeming with potential world-class talent – perhaps even more than usual. Midfielder Oscar has agreed to join British club Chelsea after the Olympics, and Manchester United is reportedly prepared to spend $50 million to buy his rights from his Brazilian club, Sao Paulo. But their focus for the next month will be on winning Brazil's first ever Olympic gold medal in soccer.   

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