Poll: Where does Neymar rank alongside Brazil’s all-time greats?
Raphael Varane headed France into the lead against Brazil last night but from there on in it was pretty much the Neymar show.
Oscar may have hit the Selecao’s equalizer but the Barcelona ace was the orchestrator in chief and helped himself to two goals in the convincing 3-1 win, taking his tally to eight goals in his last seven internationals.
There can be no doubt now that if Brazil are on the comeback trail following their shock 7-1 defeat to Germany then Neymar is the man carrying the side forward.
The 23-year-old forward has smashed 43 goals in his 61-game international career and is on course to become one of his country’s all-time greats but where does he stand among The Samba Boys’ legends at present.
Here we outline the achievements of Brazil’s finest sons and give you a chance to vote for your favourite.
At 23 it’s clear Neymar’s best years are ahead of him but he has already proved himself on the international scene in many ways with a clutch of honours.
The former Santos ace picked up the South American Youth Championship in 2011, the Superclasico de las Americas in 2011, 2012 and 2014 along with an Olympic silver medal in 2012 and the Fifa Confederations Cup in 2013 and if he can add to these honours at the same rate over the coming years Brazil will have another stone cold legend on their hands.
Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo won everything there is to win during his career and his international honours list is the envy of the majority of footballers.
World Cup wins in 1994 and 2002 – plus a runners-up finish in 1998, top the lot but a career which spanned 98 games and saw Ronaldo net 62 goals also saw him lift the Copa America twice (1997 and 1999), the Confederations Cup (1997) and an Olympic bronze medal (1996).
His list of individual honours is too long to print here but the Golden Shoe from the 2002 World Cup will be among his most treasured.
Ronaldinho’s honours list may pale in comparison to Ronaldo’s but a quartet of huge trophies (Copa America 1999, World Cup 2001, Confederations Cup 2005 and Superclasico de las Americas 2011) is still hugely impressive.
Less prolific he may have been, with 33 goals from his 97 caps, Ronaldinho’s magic needs to be seen to be believed. The former PSG and Barcelona star is arguably the most naturally-talented players to have graced the game and mesmerised defenders and fans over the years with his fancy footwork.
While the numbers are difficult to verify Romario is widely regarded to have scored over 1,000 professional goals throughout his career. What is undeniable though is his international record of 55 goals in just 70 games for Brazil. The PSV legend has also won the Confederations Cup, the Copa America (twice) and the World Cup in 1994.
He may be famed for his play acting at the 2002 World Cup, which saw Turkey’s Hakan Unsal red carded, but with 35 goals from his 74 international games Rivaldo is one of Brazil’s finest.
A trio of standout honours – the Confederations Cup (1997), Copa America (1999) and the World Cup (2002) – topped a sparkling career, which also saw him claim the 1999 Ballon d’Or and the Champions League top scorer honours in 2000.
Widely regarded as the best player of all time, Pele is an early favourite to win this poll after winning the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and again in 1970.
He made his Brazil debut in 1957 and became the youngest player to score an international goal aged 16 years and nine months and never looked back.
A tally of 77 goals in 92 outings for the Selecao only tells half the story, with opposition defenders literally trying to kick Pele off the field his total would surely have been far greater in today’s fairer game.
When Pele was injured in the first game of the 1962 World Cup – going on to miss the rest of the tournament – the late great Garrincha picked up the slack with aplomb.
Having already won the 1958 World Cup the Botafogo legend overcame his party lifestyle in the years leading up to the 62 tournament and put in a number of man of the match displays en route to being crowned the competitions Golden Boot winner.
Of the 50 times he pulled on the famous yellow jersey, Garrincha was on the losing side only once and is rightly regarded as a national treasure.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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