Rio 2016: Neymar makes history for Brazil

It may have taken a lot of effort to persuade Barcelona to allow him to take part in the Olympic Games this summer, however it proved worthwhile as Neymar created history for his country.

For a nation with such a rich footballing history you would be forgiven for simply assuming that at one stage or another Brazil would have taken gold in the discipline that has been part of the games since 1908.

Yet that has not been the case with Neymar’s sensational individual display on Saturday at the Maracana propelling the country to their very first footballing gold medal.

Having previously been the only honour that has eluded the Selecao, the Barcelona forward has succeeded where such great individuals as Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho have all failed.

At 24-years-old the star was conscious enough to realise that this would be his best opportunity to secure an Olympic gold for Brazil.

“I will never have a better chance than this, we are playing at home near our family, near our friends,” he explained.

Many believe that had the former Santos forward not been injured in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final with Colombia then the semi-final nightmare against Joachim Low’s team in Rio wouldn’t have taken place.

Saturday’s clash, whilst on the whole involving totally different personnel, did little to disprove such a theory with the team’s captain driving them on to victory.

He handed Brazil the lead in the first-half with a sumptuous curling free-kick from the edge of the penalty area which beat Timo Horn all ends up before he netted the decisive penalty.

This summer was his second Olympics in what is already a career bursting with honours and Neymar seldom disappoints with his goalscoring record at the games now 13 in 19 matches.

Whilst the youngsters around him struggled with the occasion the most experienced of the front three took charge fighting through cramp and fatigue to ensure Brazil maintained an attacking threat.

Unlike in the same venue two years’ ago, luck was now on the side of the hosts as Germany rattled the woodwork no less than three times in the opening 45 minutes.

To achieve success you need to ride out those difficult moments and to their credit Rogerio Micale’s team did just that and with the help of their talisman, managed to finally take home Olympic gold.

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