Pele sent an inspiring and consoling message to Brazil’s start striker Neymar after his heroic effort couldn’t help his team advance to semi-final sport at FIFA World Cup 2022 Quarterfinal Match against Croatia. The legend wrote in his message – Keep inspiring us!!!
Neymar was totally heartbroken, and was in tears after Croatia zoomed past Brazil in the penalties to reach the FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-final. Despite scoring a wonderful goal in extra time that not only put his side ahead in the match but also helped him equal legendary Pele goal scores, Neymar will return empty-handed from Qatar, with his World Cup dream still unfulfilled.
The PSG striker was in tears even as the Croatian players jumped with joy. For the fourth time in the last five editions of the World Cup, Brazil were knocked out of the tournament from the quarter-finals.
Neymar scored his goal in extra time with a right-footed shot after getting through the defence and dribbling past the Croatia goalkeeper to match Pele’s record for most goals for Brazil. He entered the tournament two goals shy of the milestone and scored his 76th in the round of 16 against South Korea after returning from an ankle injury.
Read Pele’s emotional, inspiring message to Neymar
Neymar’s goal may not have been enough to take Brazil through but it was enough to attract an emotional and lengthy Instagram message from Pele himself.
“I saw you grow, I cheered for you every day and I can finally congratulate you for reaching my number of goals with Brazil. We both know that this is more than a figure,” the 82-year-old Pele, who is currently in the hospital for respiratory illness, wrote. “Our biggest duty as athletes is to inspire. Inspire our teammates of today, the next generations and, above all, everyone who loves our sport.
“Unfortunately this is not the happiest day for us,” Pele added.”My record was set almost 50 years ago, and nobody had managed to get near it until now. You got there, kid. That shows how great your achievement is.”
Brazil were four minutes away from reaching the semi-finals when Bruno Petkovic found the back of the net in extra time with Croatia’s only shot on goal in the entire match. The match went into the penalties where Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic stood tall to save two Brazilian shots. The 30-year-old Neymar didn’t take a penalty in the shootout.
Keep inspiring us – Pele to Neymar
“Keep inspiring us,” Pele said at the end of his message to Neymar. “I will keep punching the air with joy for every goal you score, as I did in every match I saw you on the pitch.”
The 30-year-old Neymar didn’t take a penalty in the shootout. He walked off the field in tears and left it open whether he will continue playing for the national team.
“My record was set almost 50 years ago, and nobody had managed to get near it until now. You got there, kid. That shows how great your achievement is.” Pele stated.
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, won three World Cups with Brazil. He had surgery to remove a colon tumour last year and is also going through chemotherapy in his fight against cancer.
Pele’s daughters, Kely and Flavia Nascimento, posted a montage of their father and Neymar together in celebration for the forward’s scoring mark.
Pele, is in hospital and is being treated for a respiratory infection, posted his message on Instagram after Brazil lost to Croatia in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout at the tournament in Qatar.