Neymar has urged Brazil fans to show patience after the host nation belatedly got their Olympic campaign up and running with a 4-0 win over Denmark.
Brazil were held to lackluster 0-0 draws by South Africa and Iraq in their opening two Group A matches at Rio 2016 but booked a quarter-final spot with a resounding 4-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday.
Gabriel Barbosa scored a brace either side of Gabriel Jesus and Luan finding the net, while Neymar schemed inventively throughout.
“We wanted to win from the beginning, but sometimes the results do not reach the targets,” the Barcelona star told reporters.
“I know it’s hard, but I ask the fans to be patient and do not criticize. Support us because that’s what we need – love and help from the people.”
Images of a young fan who crossed out Neymar’s name on his Brazil shirt and replaced it with Marta – the dazzling star of Brazil’s women’s team at the Olympics – have swept across social media.
For his part, Neymar has no qualms over taking second billing to the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year in his homeland.
“Marta is a great player, the best in the world,” he said.
“She is proud to be Brazilian and represents us, not only in Brazil but also outside. I hope we succeed and win gold in women’s football.
“I am very happy to be compared with Marta, who is the best in the world.”