By scoring the 4-0 in favor of Brazil in the 61st minute, then the 5-1 in stoppage time (90th+3), Neymar has to his credit 79 goals in 125 matches, against 77 goals for "O Rei" in his 92 matches between 1957 and 1971.

Striker Marta (122 goals in 189 matches), of the women's team, remains the top scorer of both teams.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, alias Pelé, who died on 29 December 2022 at the age of 82, claimed 95 goals in 113 matches for the national team. This figure, which includes goals scored in friendly matches between the Seleção and official clubs or teams from Brazilian states, is recognized by the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF), but not by FIFA.

Pelé, widely regarded as the best footballer in history, remains the only player to have won three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970) and maintains the best average of goals per game (0.84, compared to 0.63 for Neymar).

Neymar, 31, joined Saudi club Al-Hilal from Paris Saint-Germain in August. He was called up for the matches against Bolivia and Peru (Tuesday in Lima) after missing three friendlies due to injury.

"Pele is unanimously the king of football. Imagine beating someone like him...," Neymar said at a press conference on Thursday. "It will be a unique brand and this goal will be dedicated to everyone who helped me."

The Brazilian star had equalled Pele's record on December 9, in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar, by scoring against Croatia.

From his hospital bed, less than three weeks before his death, Pele had congratulated him.

"Your legacy is far from over. Continue to inspire us. I will continue to punch in the air of happiness with every goal you score," he wrote on Instagram.

© 2023 AFP