Brazil boss Tite confessed that Neymar’s superb comeback performance “was above my expectation” and he opened up on their “relationship of truth and loyalty”.
Neymar stole the show in Miami in his first match back for Brazil since his ankle injury three months ago.
The Paris Saint-Germain star, who saw a summer return to Barcelona fall through, took just 19 minutes to make his mark by teeing up Casemiro for Brazil’s opening goal through a corner-kick.
While Luis Muriel struck twice to put Colombia into a surprise lead, Neymar responded in the second-half by tapping in from close-range after Philippe Coutinho’s through ball split the opposition defence open.
The 27-year-old then had a penalty appeal waved away after Davison Sanchez fouled him in the area. Most importantly, though, was that he was unharmed and went on to play the full 90 minutes in America.
“I said, ‘I’ll take him off’ for the sake of physical preservation,” Tite told reporters on Neymar after the 2-2 draw.
“But I saw that his physical responses were strong, intense, and coordinated. I could see him growing.
“As the end of the game approached he produced more and more. He keeps his technique light and creates space. He was above my expectation.”
It’s been one hell of a summer for Neymar considering his ankle injury, the rape allegations made against him, and the backlash he’s faced over his desire to leave PSG for Barcelona.
One person, though, who always stood by him was Tite with the forward even running up to the coach and embracing him after scoring on his return.
“It is a reaction of true loyalty,” said Tite.
“We have a relationship of truth and loyalty. We say what we think is right, what is wrong.
“It is a transparent relationship. I don’t analyse other facts, other situations. But I can say that we have a real relationship.”
Neymar may get another opportunity to star for Brazil in Tuesday’s friendly against Peru in Los Angeles.
“Neymar surpassed my expectations tonight.” pic.twitter.com/4uelmqD4Gv
— Brasil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) September 7, 2019