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Neymar moves second in Brazil’s all-time scorer list – can he surpass Pele?

16 October 2020 | Ligue 1 | Opinion
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Neymar moves second in Brazil’s all-time scorer list – can he surpass Pele?
betto rodrigues / Shutterstock.com

Neymar moved second in Brazil’s all-time goalscoring charts by netting a hat-trick in a World Cup qualifier against Peru on Wednesday.

The PSG forward overtook Ronaldo to move to within 13 goals of the great Pele, and at just 28, he should have plenty of opportunities to eclipse the record.

But even if Neymar does become Brazil’s all-time leading scorer, can he be mentioned in the same breath as Pele?

Of course, Neymar is a special talent; we all know that. But Pele is renowned for being one of the greatest goalscorers to ever play the game. Does Neymar really fall into the same category?

This is what Brazil’s all-time scorers list currently looks like:

  • Pele (77)
  • Neymar (64)
  • Ronaldo (62)
  • Romario (55)
  • Zico (48)

Neymar made his international debut as an 18-year-old in August 2010, opening his account in a 2-0 victory over the USA.

The skillful forward racked up 70 goals in 134 games for boyhood club Santos before earning a big-money move to Barcelona in 2013, where he went on to score 105 goals in 186 games.

In 2017, Neymar moved to PSG for a world-record transfer fee (€222m). However, his club commitments have never got in the way of his international duties.

Neymar has now scored four hat-tricks for his country, with four goals coming in a single game against Japan back in 2014. The 28-year-old also has eight international braces to his name.

Better still, Neymar has notched up 43 assists for Brazil over the years. Not only does he love to score goals, but he is also more than happy to create chances for his team-mates.

With 64 goals in 103 international appearances, Neymar currently averages a goal every 1.6 games for Brazil.

However, Pele only earned 93 caps for his country, so his tally of 77 strikes amounts to a goal every 1.2 games.

At the end of the day, it is extremely difficult to compare Neymar to Pele. The two players have played in completely different eras, but both stars have shone.

It could be argued that the standard of defending in Pele’s day was poorer, although scoring 12 goals in 14 World Cup games – against some the best defenders on the planet – is no mean feat.

With the high volume of international games nowadays, Neymar looks set to surpass Pele as Brazil’s all-time leading scorer in the coming years.

Instead of comparing the two players and debating who is better, why not just appreciate them both for what they have achieved?

Ligue 1 Regular Season
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Paris St. Germain 18 8 6 0 2 20 3 17
2. Lille OSC 18 8 5 3 0 14 3 11
3. Stade Rennais 15 8 4 3 1 16 10 6
4. Olympique Marseille 15 8 4 3 1 11 8 3
5. OGC Nice 14 8 4 2 2 11 10 1
6. Lyon 13 8 3 4 1 14 8 6
7. RC Lens 13 7 4 1 2 10 10 0
8. Angers SCO 13 8 4 1 3 10 16 -6
9. Girondins Bordeaux 12 8 3 3 2 9 5 4
10. FC Metz 11 8 3 2 3 9 7 2
11. Montpellier HSC 11 8 3 2 3 13 13 0
12. AS Monaco 11 8 3 2 3 11 13 -2
13. AS Saint-Étienne 10 8 3 1 4 9 12 -3
14. Stade Brestois 9 8 3 0 5 11 18 -7
15. FC Nantes 8 7 2 2 3 9 10 -1
16. Nîmes Olympique 8 8 2 2 4 9 13 -4
17. FC Lorient 7 8 2 1 5 12 15 -3
18. Strasbourg 6 8 2 0 6 9 16 -7
19. Stade Reims 5 8 1 2 5 10 13 -3
20. Dijon FCO 2 8 0 2 6 4 18 -14

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