Neymar scored twice in his national team’s 5-1 victory over Bolivia in a World Cup qualifying match in the Amazon city of Belém to surpass Pele to become Brazil’s all-time top scorer for men.
The forward for Al Hilal was tied with Pele, who played for Brazil and scored 77 goals between 1957 and 1971. Neymar presently has 79 goals in 125 international appearances.
“I never imagined reaching this record. I want to say that I am not better player than Pele,” said Neymar after the game. “I always wanted to make my own story, write my name in the history of Brazilian football and the national team. And today I did that.”
After receiving a low cross into the penalty box, Neymar scored the record-breaking goal with precision from close range. Like Pele used to do, he punched the air in celebration.
In the 17th minute, Neymar missed a penalty kick that Guillermo Viscarra, the goalkeeper, saved.
“Congratulations, Neymar Jr, for surpassing the King in goals for the Brazilian National Team in official FIFA matches,” it said on social media. “Surely Pelé is applauding you today!”
At 82, Pelé passed away in Sao Paulo on December 29 from cancer.
According to Fernando Diniz, the new coach of Brazil, Neymar came to Brazil to “score goals, break records, show that he is very much willing to live this [with the national team]”
“He is a great hero,” Diniz said. “People have to recognize it and accept it. He doesn’t do anything to get this adoration he gets from the crowd, it is because of the natural talent he has.”
Before Brazil’s victory over Bolivia, Neymar played in the World Cup quarterfinal loss to Croatia. He left Qatar with questions about his future in the national team and didn’t play the Selecao’s first three games this year.
The former Santos, Barcelona and Paris Holy person Germain star scored in his Brazil debut in a 2010 well disposed against the US.
Neymar directed Brazil to the Confederations Cup title in 2013 yet still can’t seem to lead them to a World Cup last, arriving at quarterfinals two times – – 2018 and 2022 – – and the elimination round in 2014, when they experienced an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany on home soil.
Due to injury, he was unable to participate in Brazil’s Copa America victory in 2019 and lost the final against Argentina in 2021.
The 31-year-old has enjoyed an incredible club career with honours, including two LaLiga titles, a Champions League trophy, five Ligue 1 titles and a Copa Libertadores.
Meanwhile, Brazil women’s national team forward Marta holds the nation’s untouched record with 115 goals in 171 games.