The Brazil sensation scored a hat trick as Santos beat Cruzeiro 4-0 at the Mineirao Stadium and though the home support jeered its own players for an abject display, the fans gave the 20-year-old a standing ovation as he made his way off the pitch.
"I am overcome, it makes me want to cry," he told reporters after the clash. "It is unusual for this to happen. In fact, I cannot remember this ever happening so I am very grateful."
The trio of goals takes Neymar's tally to 12 for the season, despite a three-week absence as a result of his participation at the Olympics with the national side.
His team is now ninth in Brasileiro Serie A with 46 points from 34 games.