Brazil's forward Neymar smiles as he takes part in a training session of Brazil national football team at Yug Sport Stadium, in Sochi, on June 14, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil begin their quest for a fifth World Cup title Sunday when they face Switzerland in their first group match. To little surprise, the Selecao are rich with talent and expected to make a deep run in the quadrennial event.

The country that produced Pele has a proud history of churning out superstars. The post-Pele era of 1958 to 1970 gave way to Zico and Socrates in the lates 1970s and early 1980s. In the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, it was Careca and full-back Branco. When Brazil ended their World Cup drought in 1994, Ronaldo and Bebeto led the attack. The late 1990s and early 2000s belonged to Ronaldo and left back Roberto Carlos. Ronaldinho would be the marquee star in the 2000s.

This era belongs to Neymar.

As was the case in 2014, the Sao Paulo-born star with the smooth dribbling skills and cool temperament is the face of Brazil in 2018. At age 26, he is in his prime years and coming off a club season in Ligue 1 — a less physically and mentally demanding league than the English Premier League, the Bundesliga and his former stomping grounds of La Liga.

There is hope that Neymar will shine brightly in Russia. The Paris-Saint Germain talisman has recovered from a recent foot injury, while Brazil is coming off its greatest humiliation: a 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals in Belo Horizonte. Neymar didn't compete in the match and his absence was one of the hot topics of the tournament. There are perhaps unrealistic expectations that this time around a fully fit Neymar can lift Brazil to glory after a title drought that dates back to 2002.

Though Neymar fits the perceived image of a Brazilian savior, the state of global football has changed. Agents and big-money transfers dominate the headlines often more than the play on the field. Today's players are far more embedded in contract sagas than ever before.

When Neymar steps out onto Rostov Arena to face an underdog Swiss side, many will be wondering if his focus will be on leading Brazil to glory or securing a record signing in Spain. After just one season with PSG, he could be heading back to Barcelona or joining star-studded Real Madrid, but either way, Neymar, who has a buyout clause worth about $115 million, will be paid quite handsomely. As Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo embark on perhaps their final World Cup, Neymar can expect a major windfall after years of pulling in huge sums, whether or not he lives up to expectations in Russia.

Indeed, the money that surrounds Neymar is staggering. As is the case with all players due to bonus clauses, endorsement deals, tax laws and such, it's difficult to gauge how much Neymar is worth, but unconfirmed reports seem to place his assets at between $140 million and $125 million.

His salary with PSG is about $46 million a year, a sharp rise from when he was at Barcelona. Neymar reportedly was earning about $6 million a year with Barcelona, though his contract was loaded with incentives. When Neymar left Santos as a 17-year-old prodigy in 2013, he joined Barcelona on what now seems like a meager signing bonus of about $8 million.

Then there are the endorsements. Forbes in 2016 estimated his annual endorsement haul at $21 million, due to deals with Nike, Red Bull, Gillette, McDonalds and Beats by Dre, and others. Forbes in 2018 also listed Neymar as the No. 5 highest paid player in sports. Floyd Mayweather was No. 1, followed by Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Conor McGregor.

A strong performance in Russia will likely immortalize Neymar, which could only help his net worth. His efforts in Russia won't have a big impact on his impending departure from Paris, but they can lead to long-term deals that elevate him past contemporaries Messi and Ronaldo — two legends that never tasted World Cup success. Raising the trophy at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15 would also firmly put him in the company with Brazilian legends like Pele, Romario, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, which is an illustrious achievement in itself.