Neymar had the “great honour” to go level with Brazil great Romario on 55 international goals in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Austria, saying it allowed him to pay tribute to the former striker.
The Paris Saint-Germain star has enjoyed a seamless return to football after three months out with a broken foot, which he suffered in action for PSG back in February.
He came back in the 2-0 friendly victory over Croatia on June 4 and scored a brilliant goal, evading a couple of challenges before blasting in off the crossbar.
The 26-year-old then started in Vienna on Sunday, scoring Brazil’s second in the straightforward win, of which he played 84 minutes.
His goal took him on to 55 from 85 caps and he was proud to move level with Romario as Brazil’s third highest scorer, leaving him 22 behind record-holder Pele.
Golaço do @neymarjr hoje? Temos! Olha esse drible antes da finalização…
— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) June 10, 2018
Speaking to reporters, Neymar said: “For me it is a great honour, great happiness to reach Romario, to be among the top scorers of the Brazilian team.
“I wanted to pay homage to him in some way because he is an idol. Like I said last week, I do not want to be better than anyone, just myself.
“So it was a way to pay tribute, because he is an idol, not just to me, but all Brazilians.”
Gabriel Jesus got the scoring started against Austria and in doing so probably made sure of a starting place ahead of Roberto Firmino in Brazil’s World Cup opener against Switzerland next Sunday.
Though the Manchester City star is adamant whoever leads the line will show just why coach Tite has faith.
“This is Brazil,” he said. “We have great players, we are all prepared.
“Whoever Tite chooses will show why they are here. We played another game and we proved to ourselves that we are ready for the World Cup.”
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