Neymar has become the all-time leading scorer in Brazil’s national team, overtaking the country’s legendary footballer Pele.
The 31-year-old former FC Barcelona and PSG winger scored two goals against Bolivia in South America’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Friday night, September 8, to surpass Pele’s record.
Neymar’s two goals helped Brazil to win 5-1 and commence their 2026 World Cup qualification campaign on a high note.
Before the game, Neymar was on the same page with Pele in terms of the country’s all-time leading scorer chart. However, in the 17th minute of the encounter, Neymar had the opportunity to surpass Pele’s 77 goals for the country in his 125th cap via a spot-kick but Bolivian goalkeeper, Guillermo Viscarra saved the kick.
After that, Neymar waited until the 61st minute to score his 78th goal and finally break Pele’s record. In injury time, the Al Hilal forward cemented his legacy by scoring his 79th goal for Brazil to become the country’s all-time highest goalscorer in international football with two goals more than late Pele.
While Pele reached 77 goals in 92 games between 1957 and 1971, Neymar waited until his 125th game before he broke Pele’s record and set a new one (79 goals).
Neymar achieved this even though he joined the Brazil national team with fitness issues which he has been battling with since last season. Before the game, he told newsmen that he was mentally ready to play for the team but was not 100 percent fit.
After the game, the head coach of Brazil, Fernando Diniz, described Neymar as a very big Idol as he has continued to prove critics wrong.
“Many did not know what he would come to do, and he came to do what he did: have fun, score two goals, and break the record,” the coach said.
“He is a very big idol, people must recognize him and accept him”.