Heartbroken Brazil star Neymar reveals he may never play in World Cup again as Pele begs him to carry on in tribute
NEYMAR has cast doubt on his international future after Brazil suffered World Cup heartbreak against Croatia.
But Pele has urged him to “keep inspiring” Brazilians after the 30-year-old equalled his scoring record for the men’s national team.
Neymar bagged his 77th Brazil goal to put his side ahead in extra-time, before Bruno Petkovic’s equalised on penalties and Croatia won on penalties.
In doing so the captain equalled Pele’s ‘official’ record recognised by Fifa.
Although Neymar is unsure whether he will get the chance to add to his tally following the devastating World Cup quarter-final exit.
The forward, who will be 34 by the time the next tournament kicks off, burst into tears at full-time.
Speaking on his future after the game, Neymar admitted: “Honestly, I do not know. I think talking now is bad because of the heat of the moment. Maybe I’m not thinking straight.
“To say that this is the end would be rushing myself, but I don’t guarantee anything either. Let’s see what happens going forward.
“I want to take this time to think about it, think about what I want for myself. I will not close the door to playing with Brazil, nor do I say 100% that I’ll come back.
“I need to think a bit more about this, about what is the right thing for me and for the national team.”
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Pele, who is currently in hospital having reportedly been put on end of life care after he stopped responding to cancer treatment, paid tribute to Neymar after the game.
In an emotional Instagram post, the 82-year-old congratulated Neymar for equalling his Brazil record.
He wrote: “I saw you grow up, I cheered for you every day and finally I can congratulate you on equalling my number of goals with the Brazilian National Team. We both know that it’s much more than a number.
“Our greatest duty as athletes is to inspire. Inspire our colleagues in the profession today, the next generations and most of all inspire all who love our sport.
“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 as time goes by the more our legacy grows.”
He added: “Keep inspiring us all I will continue to punch the air of happiness with every goal you score, as I did in every match I saw you on the field.”
Pele scored 77 times in 92 games for Brazil, while Neymar has the same tally from 124 caps.
Women’s captain Marta is Brazil’s all-time record scorer with 115 goals.
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