With the pressure on, Brazil’s golden boy delivered in emphatic style, scoring a stunning free-kick to give his country the lead against Germany in the Olympic football final at Rio’s Maracana. After a frenetic opening that featured chances at both ends, Neymar stepped up to a free-kick 25-yards from goal and struck an inch-perfect curling effort that beat Germany goalkeeper Timo Horn and bounced down off the crossbar and into the net.

It was just the kind of magic that Brazil was so desperate to get from its star man as it sought to claim its first ever soccer gold and gain a measure of revenge over Germany for its humiliating 2014 World Cup semifinal defeat to the same opponent. Injury prevented Neymar from taking part that day, but he and the rest of Brazil has had to live with the shame ever since.

Neymar Neymar celebrates after scoring to put Brazil 1-0 up on Germany in the Olympic final. Photo: Reuters

After two goalless draws to begin the Olympics, Neymar and the rest of the Brazil team was booed off the pitch by their own supporters. But the Barcelona forward has been at the heart of the turn around since and scored twice as Brazil beat Honduras 6-0 in the semifinals to give the country its latest chance to end its long wait for Olympic gold.