Indeed, given the question marks as to the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s commitment to the game, as well as perceived play acting, there is so often a debate as to how seriously he’s taking his career.
That accusation, however, does seem harsh.
This is a man who has lifted the Champions League, the Copa Libertadores and eight league titles in three different countries amid a raft of cup successes. For most players in world football, that would be quite the trophy haul.
Neymar, though, does appear to be constantly moving to prove the doubters wrong.
In fact, the 29-year-old referenced that after helping lead Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Peru in a World Cup Qualifier earlier today. Scoring and assisting in the victory, the forward moved even closer to Pele’s record as the top scorer in the country’s history.
In 113 caps for the Selecao, Neymar has bagged 69 times. While he has so far been unable to win a major trophy at international level (something neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo managed before their 30s), he has Pele – widely considered to be one of the best players in the history of the game – in his sights.
A three-time World Cup winner, the 80-year-old finished his Brazil career with 77 goals in 92 caps.
Against Peru, it wasn’t just Neymar’s goal nor his assist that stood out. As he so often does, the PSG star was dominant on the ball, constantly dropping deep to provide support for his teammates and drive at the opposition, who could do little more than foul him.
You can see a full compilation in the video below.
“God willing, it will be an honor to pass Pelé,” he is quoted as saying after the game.
“I don’t know what else I can do in this shirt to make people respect Neymar.”
Win something with Brazil and perhaps the world will finally start to give Neymar the respect he deserves.