Brazil’s talisman forward Neymar was delighted after breaking Pele’s goal-scoring record for the national team. Legendary Pele had scored 77 goals for Brazil during his glorious career. Neymar scored a brace against Bolivia in the World Cup qualifiers to go past Pele’s record on Saturday at the Estádio Estadual Jornalista Edgar Augusto Proença.
The 31-year-old found the back of the net in the 61st minute to break the long-standing record. Neymar scored his second of the night during injury time as Brazil thrashed Bolivia by 5-1.
Neymar now has a total of 79 goals while playing for the national team and said he never thought he would reach this record in his career.
“I am very happy, no words for this,” Neymar said in brief comments to the media after he was handed a plaque by the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, Ednaldo Rodrigues. “I never thought I would reach this record.”
In fact, Neymar had a chance to break the record earlier in the 17th minute of play but he was denied by a save from goalkeeper Billy Viscarra.
“I want to say that this [the record] doesn’t mean I am better than him [Pele] or than any national team player,” Neymar added in his short statement. “I always wanted to write my story in the national team, and today I did that.”
On the other hand, Pele’s foundation also congratulated Neymar Jr. for leapfrogging the King’s record.
“Congratulations, Neymar Jr, for surpassing the King in goals for the Brazilian National Team in official FIFA matches,” it said on social media. “Surely Pele is applauding you today!”
Brazil coach Fernando Diniz also showered praise on Neymar for delivering the goods for the national team.
“He is a great hero,” Diniz said. “People have to recognise it and accept it. He doesn’t do anything to get this adoration he gets from the crowd. It is because of the natural talent he has.”
Brazil will next take on Peru on Wednesday.