I’ve shut my critics up: JR after grabbing Gold
Rio de Janeiro : Brazil football superstar Neymar labelled winning Rio Olympic gold as one of the “best things” of his life as he hit back at critics following Brazil’s dramatic win over Germany here in the final.
Neymar struck the winning penalty as Brazil claimed a first ever Olympic football gold medal with victory over Germany on penalties at Rio’s Maracana.
The 5-4 shoot-out win exacted revenge for a humiliating 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany two years ago. Olympic gold was the only major title to have escaped five-time world champions Brazil in their history.
But Barcelona star Neymar righted that historical wrong as he fired the winning penalty into the top corner before breaking into tears. In front of the biggest crowd of Rio’s Games, including nine-time Jamaican gold medallist Usain Bolt, Neymar’s brilliant free-kick handed Brazil a first-half lead.
In honour of the retiring sprinting great, Neymar even adopted the “lightning bolt” celebration, whilst chants of “ole, ole, ole, Neymar” rang around Rio’s most iconic arena.
However, Germany captain Max Meyer enjoyed a special celebration of his own as he taunted the raucous 78,000 crowd at the Maracana by kissing the number seven on his shirt when he swept home Jeremy Toljan’s cross just before the hour mark.
The first eight penalties in the shootout were all successful before Brazil goalkeeper Weverton stopped Nils Petersen’s effort to set the stage for Neymar.
And he didn’t disappoint as, with the weight of a nation on his shoulders, he rifled the ball into the top corner. Max Meyer had cancelled out Neymar’s opener to force a shoot-out, in which Germany’s Nils Petersen had his spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Weverton. Brzil scored in all of their penalty kicks.
Neymar said it was an unforgettable moment after sending the Maracana Stadium into raptures on Saturday. “This is one of the best things that have happened in my life. That’s it. Now my critics will have to shut up,” Neymar was quoted as saying by goal.com after the win on Saturday.
“I can’t begin to describe my feelings. I have fulfilled my dream and to have fulfilled it in my home country makes me very proud.”
All the talk in the lead up was about the 2014 World Cup semi-final, in which Germany humiliated a Brazil side, missing the injured Neymar, 7-1 in Belo Horizonte.
Weverton was full of praise for Neymar, saying, “God has blessed me. The gold is ours, but it belongs to God.”
“I told Neymar that God had given him a second chance. God loves Neymar like he loves all of this team.”