Brazil legend Pele has sent a message of support to Neymar after he tied his goalscoring record in the Selecao’s shock elimination from the World Cup.
Croatia stunned Brazil with a late equaliser deep into extra time before prevailing via a penalty shootout to book their place in the semi-finals.
Neymar managed to level Pele’s record of 77 goals for the Brazil men’s side with an outrageous opener against Croatia, but was criticised for not stepping up to take a spot kick in the final shootout.
This may have been Neymar’s last shot at World Cup glory, and Pele took to Instagram to send his condolences to the PSG forward and the rest of his Brazil teammates.
“I saw you grow, I cheered for you every day and finally I can congratulate you for equaling my number of goals with the Brazilian national team,” Pele wrote.
“We both know this is so much more than a number. Our greatest duty as athletes is to inspire. To inspire our professional colleagues of today, the next generations and, above all, to inspire everyone who loves our sport.
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“Unfortunately, the day is not the happiest for us, but you will always be the source of inspiration that many aspire to become. I’ve learned that the more time passes, the more our legacy grows. My record was set almost 50 years ago, and no one has been able to approach it until now. You made it, boy. It values the greatness of your achievement.
“However, you know, as I do, that no number is greater than the joy of representing our country. I’m 82 years old, and after all this time, I hope I’ve inspired you in some way to get this far. More than that, I hope that your achievement spreads to the millions of people who follow you to challenge what seems impossible.”