(Reuters) – Neymar scored his 68th goal for Brazil in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Peru, surpassing former Real Madrid striker and Internazionale Ronaldo as Brazil’s second top scorer behind Pele.

Neymar hit 68 goals in 107 games after scoring the second goal at the Copa America in Rio de Janeiro.

He is now just nine behind Pele, who scored 77 goals in 92 games.

“It is of course a great honor for me to be part of the history of the Brazilian team,” said Neymar tearfully.

“To be honest, it was always my dream to play for Brazil, to wear this shirt. I never thought that I would reach these numbers. “

Brazilian player scores are a source of debate among statisticians, with some counting only competitive goals and others including friendly and unofficial matches.

Even the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) have come up with conflicting figures, but after Thursday’s game it was said that Neymar had outperformed Ronaldo after taking into account Ronaldo’s unofficial goals.

FIFA said on Twitter that Neymar’s goal put him 20th on the list of all-time international goalscorers, but there was no record or said who was above him.

However, Pele supported a player who, like him, started his career at Santos.

“Today he took another step towards my goal scorer record for the (national team),” wrote Pele on Instagram. “And I strive for him to get there with the same joy I’ve had since I first saw him play.”

Whatever the specifics of the count, the fact is that Neymar is in a rich streak of international form, having scored four goals in their last four games and seven goals in their last five.

His excellent performances come off the pitch despite his ongoing problems.

He was charged with rape in May 2019 but later acquitted and last month Nike said it ended its commercial partnership with the player after refusing to investigate sexual assault allegations against him by a Nike employee to cooperate.

“It’s very emotional for me. I’ve been through a lot of things over the past two years, difficult and complicated things, and these numbers are nothing compared to the joy I feel when I represent my country and my family,” said Neymar.

“Today we are going through an unusual time, a very difficult time for the whole world, not just here, and it is a great pleasure to be an example to everyone, to make someone happy.”

(Reporting by Andrew Downie)