Neymar equalled Pele’s record tally of 77 goals for Brazil with his brilliant strike against Croatia in the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday, but his team crashed out on penalties.
The forward fired home from close range in extra-time to put Brazil ahead and draw level with Pele, who scored his goals between 1957 and 1971.
Neymar beat Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and converted from a tight angle in stoppage time in the first additional period.
However, Bruno Petkovic levelled in the 117th minute, with Croatia winning the shootout 4-2.
Pele, who was recently hospitalised during treatment for colon cancer, is the only player in history to win three World Cups.
The 82-year-old triumphed in 1958, 1962 and 1970 with the Selecao and said earlier this week he was watching his country play in Qatar from hospital.
Five-time winners Brazil last lifted the World Cup in 2002, eight years before Neymar made his international debut.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, 30, has earned iconic status in his country but has been frustrated on the biggest stage.
He scored a penalty against South Korea in the last 16 on his return from injury, having missed the previous two matches in Qatar.
Brazil players unfurled a banner in tribute to Pele after that emphatic 4-1 victory on Monday.
However they will be heading home early after their surprise defeat despite coming into the tournament as favourites.