Neymar takes over from Pele as Brazil’s leading scorer

September 11 – Neymar has become Brazil’s all-time leading goal soccer, eclipsing Pelé’s tally of 77 after scoring a brace against Bolivia in World Cup qualifying. 

Neymar scored in the 61st minute and 79th of a 5-1 victory over Bolivia to overtake Pelé, who passed away in December following a battle with cancer.

“I want to say that this [the record] doesn’t mean I am better than him [Pelé] or than any national team player,” said Neymar in his short statement. “I always wanted to write my story in the national team, and today I did that.”

The CBF, Brazil’s football confederation, considers Pelé as its top goal scorer with 95 goals in 114 matches. FIFA does not count goals that Pelé scored at national team friendlies against clubs.

Pelé won the World Cup three times with Brazil, storming to a maiden title in 1958 alongside Garrincha before winning the tournament again in 1962 and 1970. Neymar has featured in the last three World Cups with Brazil but never won the finals. In the twilight of his career, he recently moved to Saudi Arabia to play for Al-Hilal.

On Tuesday, Brazil continue their World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Peru.

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