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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

World Cup qualifiers: Neymar goes past Pele

I never imagined reaching this record. I want to say that I am not a better player than football legend, says Neymar

Reuters Belem Published 10.09.23, 09:52 AM
Neymar celebrates after scoring Brazil’s fourth goal against Bolivia.

Neymar celebrates after scoring Brazil’s fourth goal against Bolivia. Twitter

Brazil lived up to expectations by smashing Bolivia 5-1 at home in their 2026 World Cup qualifiers opener on Friday, with Neymar surpassing the late great Pele as the country’s top scorer.

The 31-year-old Neymar, who recently joined Saudi side Al Hilal, bounced back after missing a penalty in the first half, scoring two goals in the 61st and 93rd minutes to become the country’s all-time top scorer with 79 goals.

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“Congratulations Neymar for surpassing the King in goals for Brazil,” the official account of the late Brazil .football legend Pele wrote on X, the platform formerly called Twitter. “Surely Pele is applauding you today!”

Neymar said after the game, “I never imagined reaching this record. I want to say that I am not a better player than the legendary Pele. I always wanted to make my own story, write my name in the history of Brazilian football and the national team. And today (Friday) I did that.”

Rodrygo also shone with a double, opening the scoring in the 24th minute and bagging his second in the 52nd off a great through ball from Bruno Guimaraes for 3-0.

Raphinha scored to make it 2-0 in the opening seconds of the second half

Elsewhere, Uruguay started their qualifying campaign on the right foot by beating Chile 3-1 at home to hand coach Marcelo Bielsa his first official win at the helm.

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