It took him 20 minutes to warm up but from the moment he first exposed Mexico right-back Edson Alvarez with a weaving run inside, the die was cast.
One fans even points to himself, saying: "Neymar!".
Neymar Jr of Brazil celebrates with teammate Paulinho after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Brazil and Mexico at Samara Arena on July 2, 2018 in Samara, Russia.
"They stepped on me, that wasn't fair. I think this had an impact on our pace and style".
"It was unfair. The ball was not in play and we were off the pitch", he signalled.
Neymar now has 15 goals in 16 games for club and country this year, showing exactly why Tite has persisted with him in this World Cup, despite below-par performances against Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
'It's a man's sport and there shouldn't be so much acting.
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Neymar opened the scoring for Brazil with a close-range tap-in on 50 minutes and Roberto Firmino made the game safe two minutes from time.
El Tri's Colombian coach criticized the referee for his control of the match, charging that he had been overprotective of Brazilian players by calling fouls on Mexican players for what he saw as innocuous challenges.
"He is one of the world's greatest players but when he rolls about on the floor, I just don't get it".
He wouldn't be called on to make another as Brazil posted its third consecutive shutout, running its scoreless streak to 310 minutes. Going past the Brazilian full-back was never a problem for Vela. Credit must also be given to Tite, who made sure that the team's defence was sorted before the tournament.
Both escaped punishment, but the judgment elsewhere was less forgiving, with Neymar asked after the match if he was a diva trying to draw fouls.
It was a choking blow for Mexico, who had been the better side for the opening half an hour, but it was not the manner of defeat but Neymar's habit of constantly hitting the deck that most irked the Mexico coach.
They did have plenty of chances early on, and it was only after a largely frustrating first half for Brazil that Neymar started the move to put his side ahead. Mexico finished second in Group F behind Sweden.