Despite an early penalty miss, Brazilian forward Neymar has become his country’s highest-ever goalscorer after two goals against Bolivia saw him overtake all-time great Pele in the Selecao scoring charts.
The ex-Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain star swept home his side’s fourth and fifth goals in a thrashing of the south American minnows to get their World Cup qualifiers off to the perfect start.
It was the cherry on the cake of an excellent performance from the home side, who took the lead midway through the first half through Rodrygo before the floodgates appeared to open at half time.
Raphinha doubled their lead before a second from Rodrygo put the result beyond doubt. From then on, however, it was Neymar’s time to shine.
Having missed a penalty just 17 minutes into proceedings, the forward put that behind him to dominate the headlines with his latest feat.
Pouncing on a loose ball inside the penalty area, the 31-year-old moved clear of Pele’s all time goalscoring record for the Selecao, netting his 78th for Brazil in his 125th outing for his country.
Having missed all three of Brazil’s friendlies since the World Cup thanks to ankle surgery, the Brazilian had been level with Pele since their quarter-final defeat to Croatia in Qatar, and the chance to move past that must have come as great relief to the ex-Santos man.
There was even time for him to move further ahead as he grabbed another in the thrashing of the south American minnows, again turning home a cross from the right-hand side.
Neymar’s next Brazil record will be appearances. The most experienced player still in the Brazil setup, he needs to play just 18 more games for the Selecao to move clear of icon Cafu at the top of the chart, and could move joint second later this week, tying with former teammate Dani Alves.