World Cup 2022: Neymar equals Pele’s ‘official’ Brazil scoring record

Neymar has equalled Brazil legend Pele’s ‘official’ goalscoring record of 77 for the men’s national team with his goal against Croatia at the World Cup.

World governing body Fifa recognises the record, but the Brazilian Football Confederation and Pele will not because they say he scored 95 goals.

Fifa only counts games between two nations and some of Pele’s goals came in friendlies against club sides.

Neymar has made 124 Brazil appearances, equalling Pele’s tally from 92 games.

Pele – who won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – is currently receiving treatment in hospital in Sao Paulo.

Neymar’s tally is not an overall Brazilian record, with Marta having scored 115 for the women’s team since 2002.

He equalled the record at the end of the first period of extra time in Brazil’s quarter-final against Croatia when he combined with West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta, shrugged off Borna Sosa and fired into the roof of the net from four yards out.

The 30-year-old made his debut on 10 August 2010, scoring his first international goal in the 28th minute of a 2-0 win over the USA.

Eight of his goals have come in World Cups – four in 2014, two in 2018 and two so far in this tournament in Qatar – with another five coming in the Copa America.

He won the Confederations Cup in 2013, but his best World Cup run came when Brazil reached the semi-finals in 2014, while his best Copa America campaign ended with a runner-up spot in 2021.

Speaking on BBC One, former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said: “Finally, one of the best players in the world turns up.

“What a goal that is. He has one thing in his mind to drive through the heart of Croatia.

“The balance, the composure, the brilliance – it has not been there all night, but when it mattered he delivered.”

Former Germany coach Jurgen Klingsmann called him a “difference-maker”, while Alex Scott said Neymar “produced a moment of magic”.


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