Poll: Neymar Is Not Among Top 10 Greatest Brazilian Players Since Pele

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2019

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 file photo, PSG's Neymar reacts after he missed a goal opportunity during the French Cup soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. Neymar will need further tests next week to determine how best to treat his latest right foot injury, sustained in a French Cup game against Strasbourg last Tuesday Jan. 15, 2019, and to assess how long he will be out for. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Paris Saint-German star Neymar failed to crack the top 10 in a poll on Brazil's greatest footballers since Pele.

ESPN Brasil (h/t ESPN FC) carried out the vote following a controversial feature in Brazilian magazine Placar, which had named the former Barcelona man as the country's greatest player since the three-time World Cup winner.

Not only did Neymar fail to win, but he was also left out of the top 10:


Who’s the best Brazilian player since Pelé? Certainly not Neymar, at least according to ESPN Brasil fans 😲 https://t.co/47R9yYiDsM

The 27-year-old finished in 11th place and amassed more negative than positive votes, per ESPN FC. More than 160,000 ballots were cast.

Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Romario—all World Cup winners—were the top vote-getters.

A lack of success on the international stage has often been used as a source of criticism for Neymar, and former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho recently named it as the one thing that could put the winger on level terms with Pele:


🇧🇷 Mourinho: @neymarjr can't be on Pele's level until he wins more with Brazil https://t.co/JO9LUEnc7C

Neymar is Brazil's third-highest scorer of all time and well on pace to beat the records of Pele and Ronaldo. The former is the all-time leader with 77 goals, 17 more than Neymar.

On the club level Neymar already ranks among the nation's greats. If PSG hold on to their massive lead in Ligue 1 this season, he will have won multiple domestic titles in three countries—Brazil, Spain and France—as well as the UEFA Champions League in 2014-15.

But even at the club level there are factors working against him. Neymar spent his first years in Europe playing alongside Lionel Messi, who is widely considered among the sport's greatest players and frequently stole the spotlight with his performances.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (C) attends the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and FC Girondins de Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, on February 9, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Pho
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

The transfer to France was perceived as an attempt to escape Messi's shadow, but injuries have stopped Neymar from shining in the Champions League's knockout stages.

PSG's 2-0 win over Manchester United on Tuesday without their record signing gave Neymar's critics even more ammunition, as Kylian Mbappe is making a push as Les Parisiens' top star. And the emergence of compatriot Vinicius Jr. has some wondering whether Real Madrid should even go after Neymar at this point:

Jack Rathborn @JackRathborn

Vinicius' form makes you wonder whether Real Madrid would be better off investing Hazard/Neymar money elsewhere. So raw, but already such a difference maker https://t.co/aiaJ06BvHC

Neymar is sidelined because of injury, meaning he can't convince his critics otherwise with his play.


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