World Cup stars show why soccer's called "the beautiful game"

Brazil's Neymar celebrates his goal against Croatia during the 2014 World Cup opening match at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo June 12, 2014. Reuters/Damir Sagolj

It took less than 30 minutes for soccer's next great star to declare his presence at the World Cup.

Simply known as Neymar, the flashy 22-year-old Brazilian has been pegged as one to watch for his skill on the field - and his style off of it.

He follows the lead of soccer's biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has defined why soccer is called "the beautiful game," reports CBS News' Elaine Quijano. The 29-year-old is the reigning FIFA world player of the year.

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Real's Cristiano Ronaldo scores his side's 4th goal, during the Champions League final soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in Lisbon, Portugal, Saturday, May 24, 2014.
Manu Fernandez/AP Photo
He's also a global fashion icon who has appeared in Armani ads and posed for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Last year, the forward raked in $80 million, with nearly $28 million coming from product endorsements.

And it's not just Ronaldo.

Argentina's Lionel Messi is considered by many to be the best player of this generation, and Mario Balotelli is one of Italy's most electric talents. Both will be worth watching over the next month, and both have capitalized on their soccer success.

Dressed by apparel companies and Italian designers alike, their appeal goes way beyond the game.

Many say it started with retired English star David Beckham, whose sublime skill and striking good looks eventually became a brand name.

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English midfielder David Beckham gestures and jubilates as the final whistle blows at the end of the 2002 World Cup group game between Argentina and England in Sapporo, Japan, 7 June 2002. England won the game by a score of 1-0 against Argentina. Beckham scored the winning goal.
Bernd Weissbrod/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
"Beckham is the sort of guy who if he had a fohawk, everybody else had a fohawk. He married a pop star turned fashion designer. Ever since David Beckham really hit it big, you sort of look at the soccer field as a runway," said John Koblin, a style reporter for The New York Times.

But no one will care about a player's style if they don't have substance.

"They have to play well; they have to be good," Koblin said. "You can't just be beautiful and look great in an underwear ad unless you're good."

And when your entire squad is good, as is the case with the Italian national team, then everyone benefits. Dolce & Gabbana is outfitting the players while they are in Brazil.

But this month all eyes will focus on Neymar. The host nation hopes he can lead their team to glory, and if he continues to perform, the cheers will only get louder.

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