Gil + Ney

November 29, 2022

50 years

That is the age difference between Gil (aged 80) and Neymar (aged 30).

One of the several differences between two Brazilian virtuous icons: the former in music, the latter in sports. Yet, they also share similarities. For instance, both are far from being unanimities in their fields: not all fully identify with Gil’s prolific musical career, humming half a dozen of his best-known lyrics; not all admire Neymar’s sports trajectory, appreciating only a few goals here and dribbles there.

Such is the essence of idolatry: those who love, worship; those who do not, disdain – both sides, envy.

Public figures are always – all around the world – subject to the immoderate scrutiny of millions of strangers. They even benefit from that by monetizing their popularity in advertising deals and, more recently, social media followers. Most curious eyes do not demonstrate any empathy for their idols, maybe even reflecting the very distancing craved by those already worn out by the lack of privacy and the ordinary. It is a very delicate and tense exchange relationship.

Gil built his name singing; Ney playing soccer.

Millions of people have already lived special moments to Gil as soundtrack; another many celebrating dramatic wins led by top scorer Ney.

Personally, I prefer Tom to Gil, Ronaldinho to Neymar. But that matters little...

What is truly important is the symbology both carry as today’s ideologic absurdity. While the octogenarian is harassed by some, the younger man’s injury is celebrated by others. In a democratic environment built through a civilizing process revolving around liberal principles, Gil and Ney are sides of the same uneducated coin.

Generally, the press circulated far more the wordy attacks on Gil, not issuing an opinion, with few exceptions, on the manifestations against Neymar, thus ratifying their ideological position in the face of the core issue. The former’s sin was to yell "Come back, Lula!", the latter’s sin was to support "Stay, Bolsonaro!". Everyone’s sin has been to label and synthesize both icons to their politicized refrains.

Viva Gil! Go, Neymar!

Both evolving as winning Brazilians! We already have a Grammy! We already have a World Cup! But we can always win more, inspire more, educate more, integrate more.


Daniel Augusto Motta é Managing Partner e CEO da BMI Blue Management Institute. Doutor em Economia pela USP, Mestre em Economia pela FGV-EAESP e Bacharel em Economia pela USP. É Alumni OPM Harvard Business School. Atua também como Managing Partner da corporate venture capital WhiteFox sediada em San Francisco (EUA), como Senior Tupinambá Maverick na content tech Bossa.etc e com Membro do Conselho de Administração da Afferolab. Também atua como Diretor de Planejamento Estratégico da UNIBES e Membro do Conselho Deliberativo do MASP. Foi Membro-Fundador da Sociedade Brasileira de Finanças. Foi Professor nos MBAs da Fundação Dom Cabral, Insper, FGV, ESPM e PUC-SP. É autor de diversos artigos publicados por Valor Econômico, EXAME, VocêSA e Folha de São Paulo, e também tem três artigos publicados pela Harvard Business Review Brasil. É autor dos livros best-sellers A Liderança Essencial, Anthesis e Data Insights.