The Paris Saint-Germain forward does not feel he is any more significant than his Selecao predecessors having not yet finished his own career
Neymar has downplayed claims that he is the best Brazilian since Pele, claiming that each of the Selecao’s stars in the ‘post-Pele era’ have written an important chapter in the nation’s history.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has scored 60 goals in 96 appearances for his country but does not feel he has done enough to elevate his status above that of previous greats.
When asked who the greatest Brazilian was since Pele, the 27-year-old was reluctant to pick out an individual.
“I can’t really decide who the second or first best player is after Pele,” Neymar said in an exclusive interview with DAZN and Goal.
“For me, we are all important. In the past I’ve said that every one of us has made history, every one played in a different way and every one has been important at a certain moment.
“There are names that will forever remain etched in history, there will always be important Brazilians in football. Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Kaka, Zico, Rivaldo – I could go on forever.
“There are many players who were important in their own unique way, that’s why it’s so difficult to just pick one.
“Roberto Carlos, for example, wasn’t an attacker but is still a player with an incredible story. So to me, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to rank the best players in the ‘post-Pele era’.
“I have a lot of respect for the players who made history in the past, all the players that have been called up to the Brazil national team, because they are an example to me, they are my idols. Every single one of them is important.”
He also insisted that, until his career is complete, it would be impossible to paint an accurate picture of his influence on Brazilian football.
“I’m still writing my story. I’m only 27 years old and still have a few years ahead of me. It’s obvious that up until this point I’ve been able to reach some important milestones, but I have no intention to stop here.
“I could be counted amongst [the previous Brazil legends]. I’m writing my own story and shaping the future that I want for myself. I’ve reached certain objectives so far that could maybe put me on the same level as those players. But every single one of these great players is important in his own way.”
Neymar also opened up on his footballing hero – the player he idolised as a young boy.
“My football idol is Robinho. I’ve been a fan of him since I was a child, I always wanted to become like him.”