SAO PAULO (AP) - Neymar was celebrating another milestone with Brazil on Tuesday after becoming one of the few players to score four times in a match for the Selecao and moving into fifth place in the all-time scoring list ahead of Bebeto.
Neymar scored all four goals in Brazil’s 4-0 win over Japan in a friendly in Singapore, taking his tally to 40 goals in 58 matches with the national team.
“It’s an incredible emotion, an immense happiness to be fulfilling a dream like this,” Neymar told Brazilian media. “Not even in my greatest dreams could I imagine something like this while wearing the jersey of the national team. I’m really happy that this has happened.”
Only Zico (48 goals), Romario (55), Ronaldo (62) and Pele (77) have scored more than the 22-year-old Barcelona striker in official matches. Bebeto had 39 goals with Brazil.
“I get goose bumps just to hear something like that,” he said after being told about his achievements.
Neymar joined seven other players who have scored four times for Brazil in a match, including Zico and Romario. He is the youngest to do it, though, and is believed to be the only one that didn’t need penalty kicks to reach the mark.
Romario was the last to score four times for Brazil, in a World Cup qualifier against Venezuela in 2000.
“Romario has always been one of my idols,” Neymar said. “One of the reasons for me to be playing with the No. 11 jersey at Barcelona is because of him.”
Neymar’s goal-average per match is second only to Pele’s, and at this pace, he can surpass Pele’s tally of 77 goals with Brazil by the age of 27.
“I don’t know what my limit is,” Neymar said. “I’m not thinking about surpassing Pele, that’s not my goal. My goal is to keep scoring to help the national team and to help my teammates.”
Neymar said he scored his four goals despite suffering from the flu all day long. He opened the scoring in the first half just moment after hitting the post, and added the other goals after halftime.
Neymar was Brazil’s star at the World Cup in Brazil but was sidelined from the tournament after an injury late in the quarterfinal win over Colombia. Brazil was eliminated a few days later after a humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals. It also lost 3-0 to the Netherlands in the third-place game.
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