24-year-old Neymar of Barcelona and 19-year-old Manchester City-bound striker Gabriel Jesus were the talking points at Rio 2016 and they didn’t disappoint. Brazil started the tournament slowly in Group A with two 0-0 draws against South Africa and Iraq, but, on matchday three they managed to beat Denmark 4-0 via goals from Gabriel Barbosa (2), Jesus and Luan to advance through to the knockout stages.
Many became sceptical of Brazil’s chances, but they went on to beat Colombia 2-0 in the quarter-finals where Neymar managed to score his first goal of the Olympics. They were then handed a dream tie against Honduras in the semi-finals, who they thrashed 6-0, with both Neymar and Jesus scoring braces, as well as goals coming from PSG centre-back Marquinhos and Luan.
This setup a redemption task against Germany for Brazil who had humiliated them 7-2 on home turf in the World Cup just two years earlier, of which Rogério Micale’s side took this opportunity, drawing with them 1-1 after extra time, as Max Meyer’s strike for Die Mannschaft cancelled out Neymar’s 27th-minute opener. Brazil won the penalty shootout 5-4 with Neymar scoring their fifth penalty before Nils Petersen failed to convert from the spot.
At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Neymar finished as the tournament’s third top scorer with four goals, only behind Serge Gnabry and Petersen who had profited from hammering Fiji 10-0 in the group stages, managing two and five in that match, whilst Jesus finished just one goal behind his teammate.