Leonard Thomas: Neymar leaves his mark on National Stadium forever
(Neymar 18, 48, 77, 81)
At around 6.43pm yesterday, just before kick-off, he raised the magnificent domed roof when he was named last in Brazil's first 11 line-up.
He did it again at 7.03pm. And at nearly 7.50pm. At approximately 8.18pm, he raised the decibel level to an ear-splitting roar. And rounded it all off with one final roar at 8.22pm.
One hour and 39 minutes, that was how long it took one of modern football's master crafstmen to etch his name into National Stadium folklore forever.
Singapore's biggest new coliseum and Neymar will never forget each other, after a stunning individual display by Brazil's superstar cut down Japan's Asian champions at their knees.
The fans came in their thousands last night for only the second football game at the Singapore Sports Hub's most celebrated arena, many wearing Japan's famous blue and so many more in the famous gold top of Brazil.
Over the last few days the hot topic in the build-up to the game was not only if Neymar would start after his exertions in Beijing in Brazil's 2-0 win over deadly rivals Argentina last Friday, but also if Keisuke Honda could carry the burden of being Japan's creative spark after the head injury suffered by Shinji Kagawa.
The pitch at the National Stadium was also a worry.
The sandy patches on the Desso turf raised much chatter about the smooth run of the ball and prompted fears of the possibility of injuries, even.
It was deemed safe and playable, if less than ordinary on the eye, and Brazil's players once again lived up to their legend of being born footballers with a stylish display to send a little over 51,000 fans into raptures.
If you can play football, you can turn on magic anywhere; that's their adage, and at the heart of it all was Neymar.
Just 22 and of such a skinny frame, fans at the National Stadium witnessed what they previously could only catch on TV or on You Tube, or read about in newspapers, magazines or online, as he floated across the surface, before bursting into sprints to leave Japan's defenders and those on the terraces breathless.
His first strike was sublime.
Oscar sprung him expertly and the Barcelona star hesitated to shoot and seemed to have lost his chance, only to make a quick adjustment to find his balance again to fire home gloriously.
He passed the ball home for the second off a sweet pass by Philippe Coutinho and if the first two goals were with his right, the hat-trick was completed with his left.
And the fourth was one for the ages.
A sweeping move from Brazil's own box involved a handful of players including veterans Kaka and Robinho and eventually saw the former hang up a sumptuous cross for Neymar to bang home with his head.
Football friendlies often struggle to send fans home happy, even when giants come out to play.
Injuries are the evil, fatigue is always a major worry, because the star names always have to do more for their paymasters in matches that promise points and silverware, not at meaningless, energy sapping exhibition games.
But, sometimes, friendly games do serve up a spectacle.
The fans at Singapore's new National Stadium would surely have gone home happy last night.
The Sports Hub ensured Singapore's new football home served up a treat, with marshals and ushers, walkways and signs and loudhailers all coming together to pull off a great show
Even after one of the great individual performances in the history of Singapore football, and amid the acknowledgement of the crowd at the end of the match, Neymar sought out every Japan player to shake their hand.
He embraced Honda, he saluted the match officials, but he failed to take the ball with him.
I hope he has it as he makes his way back to Barcelona.
Singapore will always remember the Neymar show.
We hope he has the football to remember the day he ruled in the Lion City.
"Just talking about it gives me goosebumps. The emotion I feel is huge; I’m immensely happy to have accomplished something like this. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine doing this with the national team."
- Neymar (left, No. 10) on joining Zizinho, Ademir, Julinho, Evaristo, Zico, Careca and Romario among those who scored four in a single game for Brazil