Neymar has been bestowed with an honour that has not been given in Brazilian football since it was awarded to Pele in 1970.
The star of the Brazil side was named ‘hors concours’ by his fellow professionals at the Brasilerão end of season awards ceremony.
‘Hors concours’ is a label given to a player who is considered to be on another level to his peers and has been showing truly extraordinary form in the league – he is ‘out of competition’.
Neymar was also presented with the top scorer award for bagging 42 goal sin 47 appearances for his club Santos.
The 20-year-old was presented the award by former Brazil star Ronaldinho, who bestowed Neymar with the ‘hors concours’ title, and confirmed him to be the leading star in Brazilian football.
“You are indeed hors concours. In the language of football, the others are riding bicycles while you are on a motorcycle,” said the former Barcelona man.
Neymar’s stature in Brazil is highlighted by the fact that Pele was the last to be honoured so highly.
Ronaldinho was a fan favourite at Camp Nou and there have been a number of reports linking Neymar with a move to Barcelona at some point in the near future, with one even suggesting a down payment has been made to get first refusal once Santos decide to let him go.
One prize Neymar did not get near, however, is the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or, as his appearance on the long list could not be converted into a place on the final three-man shortlist, which is occupied by two current Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, as well as Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar is up for the FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year award though; he is in the three-goal shortlist with this effort for Santos against Internacional in the Copa Libertadores...