Neymar has eclipsed Pele as the top goal scorer for Brazil’s national team after overtaking the three-time World Cup winner’s career total of 77 against national teams with a goal in a World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia.
The 61st-minute strike was Brazil’s fourth goal of the match in a 5-1 win in the Amazon city of Belem, with the last goal of the game also being scored by Neymar – his 79th – during injury time.
The 31-year-old’s record-breaking goal came after a low cross into the penalty box, which the striker finished with accuracy from close range. He celebrated with a punch in the air, as Pele usually did.
“I am very happy, no words for this,” Neymar said in brief comments to the media after he was handed a plaque by the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues. “I never thought I would reach this record.”
Earlier, the striker – who plays for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal – missed a penalty in the 17th minute, which goalkeeper Billy Viscarra saved.
Neymar’s second goal in the match came in a similar fashion near the final whistle, with another low cross by Raphinha.
Brazil’s football confederation considers Pele as its top goal scorer with 95 goals in 114 matches. FIFA does not count goals that Pele scored at national team friendlies against clubs.
“78 times Neymar,” the Brazilian football body said on social media after Neymar’s record-breaking goal.
Rodrigues reiterated Neymar had become “the all-time top goal-scorer for Brazil in matches against national teams”.