Neymar, the renowned Brazilian footballer, has etched his name into the history books by becoming Brazil’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing the legendary Pele. Neymar achieved this milestone by scoring two crucial goals and contributing to another in a resounding 5-1 victory over Bolivia during the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Friday.
Entering the match, Neymar, aged 31, shared the record with Pele, both having scored 77 goals for the national team. The opportunity to break the tie arose in the 17th minute when Brazil was awarded a penalty. However, Neymar’s spot-kick was thwarted by Bolivia’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Viscarra, keeping the game goalless.
Neymar’s historic moment finally arrived in the 61st minute when he capitalized on a loose ball inside the penalty area, slotting home his 78th international goal in his 125th appearance for Brazil. His eyes turned skyward in acknowledgment of this monumental achievement.
Victor Abrego managed to pull a goal back for Bolivia, slicing through a disorganized Brazilian defense before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Ederson. Nevertheless, Neymar continued to shine, extending his record-breaking tally. In stoppage time, he connected with a low pass from Raphinha, sealing the victory and a memorable night for the talented forward.
Pele, who passed away in December at the age of 82, had previously held the record with 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil between 1957 and 1971.
This victory marked an excellent start for Brazil’s new coach, Fernando Diniz, who assumed the role following the national team’s quarter-final exit in the World Cup last year under the guidance of Tite.
Diniz praised Neymar’s contribution and resilience, stating, “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.” He emphasized the importance of recognizing Neymar as a football idol and accepting his significant role in the squad.
Neymar was also instrumental in Brazil’s other goals during the match. He provided a clever chipped pass that set up Bruno Guimaraes, who then flicked the ball into the path of Rodrygo, resulting in a confident goal. Additionally, Brazil took the lead thanks to Rodrygo’s quick reaction, slotting home after a shot from Raphinha was parried by Viscarra. The team doubled its advantage just after half-time when Raphinha’s low shot found the net, aided by a slight deflection, securing a convincing victory for Brazil.
Neymar’s record-breaking feat has solidified his place as one of Brazil’s footballing legends, and his contributions continue to shape the nation’s footballing history.
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