Neymar eclipses Ronaldo as hat-trick brings 64th Brazil goal

Neymar of Brazil celebrates scoring against Peru as part of South American qualifiers for Qatar 2022 at Estadio Nacional de Lima on October 13, 2020 in Lima
Neymar of Brazil celebrates scoring against Peru as part of South American qualifiers for Qatar 2022 at Estadio Nacional de Lima on October 13, 2020 in Lima
Image: Paolo Aguilar / Getty Images

Neymar overtook Ronaldo and moved into second place behind Pele on Brazil's all-time goalscoring list after notching a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory over Peru on Tuesday in a World Cup qualifier.

The Paris St Germain striker now has 64 goals, two more than Ronaldo and 13 behind Pele, who heads the list with 77, according to the count by world governing body FIFA.

Brazil coach Tite was reluctant to compare his current star with past greats.

“It’s unfair making comparisons,” he said.

“What I can say is Neymar has this unpredictability. He is the bow and the arrow, he’s a player who both makes and takes chances. And he gets better and better, and more mature.”

On Tuesday, Neymar equalled and then surpassed Ronaldo with two penalties either side of halftime before grabbing No 64 in injury time at Lima's National stadium.

The 28-year old celebrated by holding up the number nine with his hands in what appeared to be a tribute to Ronaldo, the former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Corinthians striker.

Neymar, who made his Brazil debut in 2010, scored his 64 goals in 103 games.

Meanwhile, teammate and striker Richarlison thanked the team's medical staff for getting him fit to play after he scored in Tuesday's win.

The Everton forward was carrying an ankle injury when he arrived in Brazil for qualifiers against Peru and Bolivia.

He managed a substitute appearance in Friday’s 5-0 win over Bolivia but was fit enough to start against Peru, scoring once.

"I’m very happy to be back after 11 months," he said of the long layoff caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"We worked very hard this week. Myself, even with my ankle trouble, I treated it morning, noon and night. I have to thank the medical department who worked hard every day to get me 100% for this game."

Richarlison is enjoying a superb start to the season at Everton, who top the Premier League with four wins from four games. He lauded the patience of the Brazil team in getting the victory in different conditions to what they are used to.

"The coach prepared for this, what he said in the dressing room was we need to keep our heads and that was what we did out there, we were very focused," he added.

"Playing here is hard, the ball sticks in the grass a lot, we’re used to much quicker pitches."

- Reuters

 

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