Neymar surpasses Pele’s record as Brazil’s all-time top scorer

Neymar Jnr on Friday, September 8, 2023 beat Pele to become Brazil’s all-time top scorer with two second-half goals in a 5-1 win over Bolivia in South America’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

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The Al-Hilal forward entered the match tied with Pele on 77 goals and was given the chance to break the record when Brazil was given a penalty in the 17th minute.

However, he appeared upset after Guillermo Viscarra of Bolivia easily saved his soft penalty kick to maintain the scoreless draw.

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Seven minutes later, Rodrygo quickly reacted to score the opening goal for Brazil after Viscarra parried a shot from Raphinha.

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Brazil doubled their lead just after the break when Raphinha cut in from the left and his low shot took a slight deflection as it flew into the bottom corner.

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Neymar had a hand in Brazil’s third, with a clever chipped pass that was flicked on by Bruno Guimaraes into the path of Rodrygo who confidently drilled home.

Then came Neymar’s moment to enter the history books as he pounced on a loose ball inside the box and tucked away his 78th goal in his 125th game for his country – raising his hands and his gaze to the skies.

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Victor Abrego pulled a goal back for Bolivia, bustling through a disorganized Brazil backline before blasting an unstoppable shot past Ederson.

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But there was still time for Neymar to extend his record tally, connecting with a low ball from Raphinha in stoppage time to complete the victory and a memorable night for the forward.

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The 31-year-old former Barcelona striker recently moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal.

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Pele, who died in December aged 82, scored 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances between 1957 and 1971.

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Brazil’s new coach Fernando Diniz, who took over last year, paid tribute to Neymar, whose role in the squad has been under scrutiny.

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