Brazilian superstar Neymar has revelled in the limelight so far in the World Cup and the talismanic forward is not ready for it to all to end yet.
With the weight of the country’s expectations on his shoulders, the 22-year-old has been the host nation’s star turn, with his four goals helping Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team qualify as group winners and set up a second round tie with fellow South American side Chile.
Neymar’s second strike against Cameroon took the Barcelona man ahead of samba legend Rivaldo and up to sixth in Brazil’s list of leading goalscorers with an impressive 35 goals in 52 caps.
Only Pele and Zico boast better goals per game averages for the five time World champions, and at only 22 Neymar is on course to break the Pele’s record of 77 goals as well as surpassing Cafu’s haul of 142 caps for the Selecao.
Brazil Top Goalscorers:
1. Pele – Goals: 77 Caps: 92
2. Zico – Goals: 66 Caps: 88
3. Ronaldo – Goals: 62 Caps: 98
4. Romario – Goals: 55 Caps: 70
5. Bebeto – Goals: 39 Caps: 75
6. Neymar– Goals: 35 Caps: 52
7. Rivaldo – Goals: 34 Caps: 74
8. Jairzinho – Goals: 33 Caps: 81
9. Ronaldinho – Goals: 33 Caps: 98
10. Ademir – Goals: 32 Caps: 39
Having long been adored by the Brazilian public, especially followers of his beloved Santos, Neymar made the move to Europe last season to join Spanish giants Barcelona in a controversial transfer that saw the Catalan club banned from transfers by FIFA before the decision was overturned on appeal.
Despite commanding a transfer fee of 86.2 million euros and boasting such an impressive record for his country, there have been many that have doubted whether or not the flamboyant forward is the real deal.
An impressive nine goals and eight assists in his first season at the Nou Camp still left some doubting the former Santos player’s credentials but he has used the World’s biggest stage to outline his qualities and prove his doubters wrong.
Despite carrying the hopes of the nation almost singlehandedly, Neymar insists that he is unaffected by the pressure and is determined to make the most of the opportunity to add another World crown to Brazil’s impressive tally:
"There is no pressure. I've always said there is no pressure when you are making a dream come true and doing something you have sought after since you were a kid,” Neymar said after Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Cameroon.
"I'm now playing in matches that I always dreamed about.”
"I just want to help my fellow players not only by scoring goals but doing whatever it takes on the pitch to help us win.”
"We are on the right track and the whole team is getting better and getting close to our target."
If Scolari’s side are ultimately to be successful in lifting the famous trophy they will need Neymar to carry on his impressive form throughout the remaining rounds of the competition but whether or not he inspires his country to victory the 22-year-old has proven that he deserves to be ranked amongst the world’s elite.
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