400 billion in annual salary → He left for Saudi Arabia, but Neymar ‘surpassed Pele’ and scored 79 goals in Brazil ‘legend’
Neymar left Europe for Saudi Arabia this summer and earned an astronomical salary, but his influence as Brazil’s No. 10 hasn’t waned. Neymar broke Pele’s record for goals in an A-match.
Brazil thrashed Bolivia 5-1 in a South American qualifier for the FIFA Confederations Cup North America 2026 at the Estadio Mangueirão in Belém, Brazil, on Monday (Sept. 9). After going through the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar unbeaten, the team is off to a strong start in the North American qualifiers.
The Brazilians dominated from the outset, with a clear advantage in objective power. Brazil dominated Bolivia in the first half. They earned a penalty kick in the 17th minute, and Neymar stepped up to take it, only to be denied by the opposing goalkeeper. Even with the missed penalty, Brazil’s offense was fierce, and they took the lead in the 25th minute with a goal from Rodriguez.
With the lead, Brazil came out firing in the second half. After warming up in the first half, they broke through the defense in the second two minutes. Two minutes into the second half, Hapinha opened the scoring, and eight minutes into the second half, Hodriguez completed the scoring with a goal of his own. It was then Neymar’s turn to shine after missing a penalty kick. In the 16th minute of the second half, he rattled the net with a straight shot from a loose ball in the box. He added another goal just before the end of the game to seal the win for his team.
Playing full-time, Neymar had 96 touches, 90% pass completion (60 of 67), 4 key passes, 4 shots on target, 7 successful dribbles (10 attempts), and 10 ground battles (16 attempts). His “Couch Score” rating was 9.8. That’s nearly a perfect 10, and it’s a Neymar ace.
Before the Brazil-Bolivia match, a special record caught the attention of soccer fans around the world. Neymar had scored 77 goals for the Brazilian national team before the Bolivia game. He was just one goal shy of Pele’s record for Brazil (78). With his multi-goal performance against Bolivia, Neymar moved into sole possession of the top spot on Brazil’s all-time goalscoring list with 79.
“Neymar scored and broke an incredible record. He showed that he is very committed to the national team. Neymar is a great Brazilian hero. People have to recognize that. He’s not trying to be loved, he’s a natural talent,” he applauded.
Neymar was delighted to have made Brazilian soccer history. After scoring his 79th goal for Brazil, he said, “I never imagined I would reach this record. I’m not a better player than Pele. I always wanted to create my own story and write my name in the history of Brazil and the national team, and today I did it,” he smiled.
Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 to join Paris Saint-Germain. At the time, he had won the treble with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, but he wanted to move on from Messi to the top of the world. Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona a record transfer fee (buyout clause) for Neymar.
Neymar was part of a big project for Paris Saint-Germain, but it didn’t work out. He’s been injured at crucial moments and has feuded with fans. More recently, he hasn’t gotten along with Kylian Mbappe, a key player for Paris Saint-Germain.
Paris Saint-Germain wanted to go beyond the French Ligue 1 and dominate Europe, but the Champions League trophy didn’t come easily. This year, they’ve looked to the future and added to their roster, making six additions in total, including the likes of Milan Skriniar and Ugarte.
That’s why they fired coach Christophe Galtier and handed the reins to Luis Enrique. A key signing for the future was Lee Kang-in. He has been getting more and more playing time at Mallorca and has developed into a key player in the team. In the 2022-23 season, he became the first South Korean to score multiple goals in Primera Liga and racked up double-digit offensive points. He was briefly linked with a move away from the club in the winter, but quickly refocused and showed top-class potential.
Neymar joined the Paris Saint-Germain tour during the preseason, but hasn’t trained since returning to France. He wasn’t even invited to shoot the poster announcing the new season. Neymar was not in the plans of Paris Saint-Germain. The arrival of Dembele only added to the speculation of Neymar’s departure. Some reports even suggested that he could become a free agent and join another team.
He has been linked to Premier League side Chelsea, but has also been strongly linked to his hometown team Barcelona, where he won the treble. Spanish outlet El Chiringito reported, “Neymar and Barcelona have reached an agreement. He will sign a 2+1 year contract and receive €13 million a year. Barcelona wants Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain to terminate their contracts and leave.”
Given Barcelona’s finances, it’s hard to see them being able to afford Neymar. However, Spain’s Catalunya Radio reported that “Barcelona has sold its 29.5% stake in Barça Studios. It generated a profit of 120 million euros. It is twice the amount expected. The sale will allow the club to register the players it needs for the new Primera Liga season. New signings are also possible.”
The Dembele transfer was a bit of a surprise. Fabrizio Romano tweeted, “Dembele joins Paris Saint-Germain. The buyout clause of €50 million has been triggered” and confirmed the move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Despite the possibility of staying in Europe, Neymar chose Saudi Arabia. Paris Saint-Germain announced Neymar’s departure through the club’s official channels. After confirming his transfer to Al-Hilal, the club sent a message of thanks, but the entire team and coaching staff said goodbye to Neymar at the club’s training center.
Photos and video were released. Neymar approached his teammates warming up in the gym and high-fived them one by one. He did the same with Lee Kang-in, who was lying down and stretching.
Al-Hilal announced the signing of Neymar on the club’s official channel with a message saying, “A fantastic talent is attracting everyone’s attention” and a short video. “I am here in Saudi Arabia. I am now an Al-Hilal player,” Neymar said, pointing to the Al-Hilal jersey emblem. Paris Saint-Germain also said goodbye to Neymar as they reflected on his career.
As Neymar confirmed his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, Lee Kang-in said goodbye. “It was a short time, but it was really special for me. Thank you so much. I wish you all the best,” and posted a photo of himself with Neymar during pre-season.
Neymar responded by referring to Lee’s words. “Our time together was short, but you have already found a place in my heart. We’ll see each other again in the future, son.” 안전놀이터
The relationship between Lee and Neymar was great. Even though Lee only joined the team this summer, he was seen laughing and joking with Neymar. When asked about Neymar in a press conference after the open training session, he said, “Somehow we got close.” “I think he’s close to all the players, not just me. He’s been so good to me since the first time I went.”
According to local reports, Al Hilal promised to pay Neymar a minimum of $200 million (Dh267 billion) a year and a maximum of $300 million (Dh400 billion). Add to that a host of other fringe benefits, and the price tag rises to unimaginable levels.
Some Brazilian legends have criticized Neymar for choosing to move to Saudi Arabia. They said that Brazil’s best player was leaving Europe too soon. However, Neymar has remained strong with the national team and has made his mark on Brazilian soccer history.