Friday's FIFA World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Bolivia was a historic match for the iconic Neymar.
Despite a turbulent 12 months for the 31-year-old, crashing out of the Qatar 2022 in the quarterfinals and leaving PSG for the Saudi Pro League, the former Santos sensation made history during the Selecao's 5-1 win over Bolivia.
The attacker scored twice in the second half to surpass the legendary Pele as Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer, having entered this qualifier level on goals with the three-time FIFA World Cup winner.
Pele, who sadly passed away in December, scored 77 goals during his time with the Selecao. Neymar, who has played more games than the aforementioned legend, is now on 79 goals in the Canarinha shirt.
However, the Brazilian could have had three, coming achingly close to scoring one of the most outrageous goals in his illustrious career. In fact, the winger could have been in the running for another Puskas Award, having reached worldwide stardom following that unforgettable solo goal in 2011 against Flamengo.
In Thursday's win over Bolivia, Neymar went on another mesmeric solo run, picking up the ball on the halfway line from center-back Gabriel Magalhães and cutting through the opposition's defense. The attacker beat four players before going one-on-one with the keeper. However, his attempt at goal was saved Guillermo Viscarra, thus denying Neymar what could have been another golazo in his catalogue of worldies. Check it out in the clip below.
Le record de Pelé était tout proche d'être battu après une chevauchée fantastique de Neymar !— L'ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) September 9, 2023
Le match Brésil - Bolivie à suivre en direct et en exclusivité pour les abonnés sur https://t.co/icnqogyDWR pic.twitter.com/VEphkHeb0W
It was also Fernando Diniz's debut game as the Selecao's interim head coach, with that result helping them take an early lead in the CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying campaign courtesy of goal difference. Next up for Brazil is a trip to Peru on Tuesday. Click here for official broadcast listings for this qualifier in your country.