Neymar was named in Brazil’s starting XI for Monday’s World Cup last-16 clash with South Korea after recovering from an ankle injury.
Brazil’s talisman was hurt in their victory over Serbia on matchday one and sat out the Selecao’s subsequent two group games.
There remained significant doubt regarding the timeline of his return, with Brazil coach Tite saying in Sunday’s pre-match press conference it was still uncertain if Neymar would feature against the Taeguk Warriors.
But he was included in the starting XI at Stadium 974 as Brazil looked to plot their way into the last eight of the tournament in a fierce attack alongside Raphinha, Vinicius Jr, Raphinha and Richarlison.
Neymar heads into the game just two goals adrift of Pele (77) in the all-time list for most Brazil goals.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward’s efforts to usurp his fellow Santos great has taken on even greater significance in the past week following reports of Pele’s worsening health.
Claims in Brazilian media last week suggested Pele was now under palliative care in hospital after his body stopped responding to cancer treatment, although a statement from the 82-year-old on Sunday said he was “strong” and had “a lot of hope”.
Having shuffled their pack for the surprise defeat against Cameroon, Tite has named a more familiar XI against South Korea with a total of 10 changes from that loss – Eder Militao being the only player to retain his spot.
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