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Brazil Defeats Bolivia 5-1 In Neymar’s Record-Breaking Game

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Friday’s opening match of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers saw Brazil defeat Bolivia 5-1 at home, exceeding expectations and seeing Neymar pass the late great Pele as the nation’s leading scorer.

After missing a penalty in the first half, Neymar, 31, who recently joined the Saudi team Al-Hilal, recovered by hitting two goals in the 61st and 93rd minutes to surpass Pele as the all-time leading scorer in the nation with 79 goals.

“Congratulations Neymar for surpassing the King in goals for Brazil,” the official account of the late Brazil soccer legend Pele wrote on X, the platform formerly called Twitter. “Surely Pele is applauding you today!”

Neymar said after the game, “I never imagined reaching this record. I want to say that I am not a better player than Pele. I always wanted to make my own story, write my name in the history of Brazilian football and the national team. And today I did that.”

Neymar has participated in 125 matches for Brazil and was a member of the 2013 Confederations Cup-winning squad.

Real Madrid’s Rodrygo also excelled with a brace, scoring the game’s first goal in the 24th minute and adding another goal for Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes in the 52nd to make it 3-0.

“It really is a very special day… Neymar is my idol, being able to help him become the top scorer will stay with me forever,” the 22-year-old Rodrygo told Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo.

In the first few seconds of the second half, Raphinha, the Brazilian player who took Antony’s place, scored to make it 2-0 with a shot at the far post after receiving a feed from Neymar on the edge of the box.

In the 78th minute, a strong shot from Victor Abrego gave Bolivia a consolation goal.

In the second round of CONMEBOL qualifiers, Brazil will go to Peru on Tuesday and try to maintain their recent success.

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