Neymar breaks Pele’s record to become Brazil’s all-time top scorer

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Neymar Jr has broken Pele’s record to become Brazil’s all-time top-scorer after scoring in a World Cup qualifier against Bolivia.

The forward, who left Paris Saint-Germain for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia this summer, scored just after the hour mark in Belem to bring his Brazil tally to 78 goals.

He added a second in stoppage time to give the hosts a 5-1 victory.

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The brace took him clear of the three-time World Cup winner Pele’s 77 goals for the Selecao.

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The 31-year-old, who had equalled Pele’s mark in Brazil’s ill-fated Qatar 2022 quarter-final against Croatia, surpassed it by striking twice as the Seleção made an impressive start to FIFA World Cup against Bolivia.

He paid tribute at the tournament to the iconic forward, who died several weeks later on December 29, 2022 at the age of 82.

Speaking after scoring against Bolivia, Neymar said: “I am very happy — (I have) no words for this. I never thought I would reach this record.”

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In a short statement later, he added: “I want to say that this (the record) doesn’t mean I am better than him (Pele) or than any national team player. I always wanted to write my story in the national team, and today I did that.”

The striker was handed a plaque by the president of the Brazilian soccer confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues.

Rodrigues reiterated Neymar had become “the all-time top goal-scorer for Brazil in matches against national teams.”

Watch video below;

Neymar vs Bolivia ??

His first match in 6 months & this is the performance he drops while breaking Pelé’s goal record for Brazil.

Enjoy the show ???

— Neymoleque | Fan ?? (@Neymoleque) September 9, 2023

Pele’s Foundation acknowledged Neymar’s achievement.

“Congratulations, Neymar Jr, for surpassing the King in goals for the Brazilian National Team in official FIFA matches,” it said on social media. “Surely Pele is applauding you today!”

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New Brazil coach Fernando Diniz said Neymar came to play for Brazil “to score goals, break records, show that he is very much willing to live this (the national team.)”

“He is a great hero,” Diniz said. “People have to recognise 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.”

Neymar made his senior debut for Brazil aged 18 in 2010 and scored during a friendly against the United States. 

The 31-year-old scored his first international hat-trick in 2012 during a 8-0 victory over China. 

He won a gold medal in the 2016 Olympic games in Rio as Brazil defeated Germany on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Neymar scored his side’s goal in normal time and the winning spot kick. 

In 2021, he reached the final of Copa America, but his side were defeated 1-0 by Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the final. 

He has been capped 125 times for his country. 

List of Brazil’s record goalscorers

Neymar (79 goals)

Pele (77 goals)

Ronaldo (62 goals)

Romario (56 goals)

Zico (48 goals)

Who has scored the most goals in international football history?

Cristiano Ronaldo (123 in 201)

Ali Daei (109 in 148)

Lionel Messi (104 in 176)

Mokhtar Dahari (89)

Ferenc Puskas (84 in 89)

Sunil Chhetri (84 in 131)

Ali Mabkhout (80 in 109)

Godfrey Chitalu (79 in 111)

Neymar (79 in 125) Hussein

Saeed (78 in 137) Pele (77 in 91)

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