Neymar's excellent hat-trick powered Brazil to a 4-2 win against 10-man Peru in the side's World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday. The Paris Saint-Germain star ran the show winning and converting two penalties either side of halftime before bagging a goal in stoppage time at Peru's Lima Stadium.
The hat-trick also took Neymar to 64 international goals in 103 appearances, moving him past legendary striker Ronaldo Nazario's 62 strikes and making him Brazil's second-highest goal-scorer.
Neymar has been a prolific goal-scorer in national colors ever since his debut as an 18-year old in 2010 and is now 14 goals away from displacing Pele as Brazil's all-time top-scorer. The iconic three-time World Cup winner netted an impressive 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil.
Neymar paid tribute to 'O Fenomeno' by imitating his famous finger-wagging celebration and holding up number 9 with his hands. 'R9' enjoyed a blistering career for both club and country.
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona superstar had a trophy laden 17 years at the international stage, winning two World Cups, two Copa America titles, and a Confederations Cup.
Brazil head coach Tite lauded Neymar, hailing him as the 'bow and arrow', and declared that he would only get better after moving past Ronaldo. Tite said:
"Each historic moment of the national team, each generation, it has its own value. It has Ronaldo, extraordinary phenomenon. There are Rivaldo, Romario, Bebeto, each one in his own moment. It is unfair to make comparisons in the stages of each one. What I can say is that Neymar has this unpredictability. He is a bow and arrow. He is the player for the assist and the finish too, better and better and with an increasing degree of maturity."
Brazil face Venezuela and Peru take on Chile next in Matchday 3 of the World Cup Qualifiers on November 12.Published 14 Oct 2020, 19:55 IST