In a thrilling World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia, Neymar Jr, the Brazilian sensation, achieved a monumental milestone in his career. The 31-year-old striker, who plies his trade with Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, surpassed the legendary Pele as Brazil’s all-time top goal scorer against national teams.
The historic moment arrived in the 61st minute of the match when Neymar buried a low cross into the penalty box with precision from close range. It was a fitting tribute to his legendary predecessor, and Neymar celebrated with a triumphant punch in the air, echoing Pele’s iconic celebrations.
Neymar Jr Reaction
Following the match, Neymar expressed his joy and disbelief, stating, “I am very happy, no words for this. I never thought I would reach this record.” He received a plaque from the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues, marking this incredible achievement.
Notably, Neymar Jr had a chance to break the record earlier in the match but missed a penalty in the 17th minute, which was saved by Bolivia’s goalkeeper, Billy Viscarra. However, he made amends with a second goal, once again finishing off a low cross, this time by Raphinha, near the final whistle.
Brazil’s football confederation recognizes Pele as its top goal scorer with 95 goals in 114 matches, although FIFA does not count goals scored by Pele in national team friendlies against clubs. After Neymar’s record-breaking goal, the Brazilian football body declared, “78 times Neymar.”
The Pele’s Foundation acknowledged his achievement, saying, “Congratulations, Neymar Jr., for surpassing the King in goals for the Brazilian National Team in official FIFA matches. Surely, Pele is applauding you today!” despite the debate surrounding goal records.
Neymar, always humble, emphasized, “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.”
Brazil vs Bolivia Full time score 5-1
The match against Bolivia also showcased the talent of Real Madrid’s Rodrygo, who netted a double, contributing significantly to Brazil’s 5-1 victory. Rodrygo expressed his admiration for Neymar, stating, “It really is a very special day… Neymar is my idol, being able to help him become the top scorer will stay with me forever.”
With a new Brazil coach, Fernando Diniz, at the helm, Neymar’s commitment to the national team is stronger than ever. Diniz praised Neymar as a “great hero” and acknowledged his natural talent and adoration from fans.
Neymar’s journey to this historic achievement is a testament to his skill, dedication, and love for the national team. As he continues to make history, his legacy in Brazilian football is secure, and his name will forever be associated with greatness.