The Selecao maestro got on the scoresheet in the draw in his first game of football for a quarter of a year.
The Miami Dolphins open their season Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, and they can only hope the atmosphere will be as electric as it was Friday night when a sellout crowd of 65,232 rocked the building as the national soccer teams of Brazil and Colombia tied 2-2 in an exhibition game.
Hours before the match, a sea of yellow-clad fans danced and dribbled soccer balls in the parking lots in anticipation of the showdown between the South American rivals, two of the best teams in the world.
Brazil, led by international superstar Neymar, is No. 2 in the latest FIFA rankings and Colombia is No. 8. When the teams last played in Miami in 2014, they drew a record crowd of 73,429 (the stadium had a larger capacity before renovations).
Most of the pre-game hype centered around Neymar, who was playing his first match since injuring his ankle three months ago. He has been in the news all summer, as he was hoping to head back to Barcelona from Paris Saint Germain, but the transfer never happened.
The match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens marked the competitive return of Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, who has not played for club or country since injuring his right foot in a June friendly against Qatar.
“It was a difficult game, but I think that we had more chances and we could have won,” said Brazil captain Dani Alves after the match.
“But I think that a game at this level really could have gone either way. It’s left a bitter taste in our mouth.”
Brazil will now go to Los Angeles where they face Peru on Tuesday, while Colombia plays Venezuela in Tampa the same night.