'It's impossible not to smile back' - Pele 'rooting' for emotional Neymar to break his Brazilian goal record

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Pele says that he is rooting for the "always smiling" Neymar to break his all-time Brazilian goal record of 77 after the Paris Saint-Germain forward took his tally to 68 by scoring against Peru.

Neymar was in tears after scoring for the Selecao in a 4-0 win over Peru in the Copa America, explaining how it had been a difficult few years for his nation and that he just wants to make his people proud.

And Pele, widely considered one of the greatest players ever, commented that it was "impossible not to smile back" when watching Neymar express himself on a football pitch.

What did Neymar say?

"It's moving for me [to get closer to Pele's record], I've been through a lot these last two years," Neymar said. "These [goal] numbers are nothing more than my joy of playing for Brazil, representing my country, my family. We're all going through a very atypical moment, a very hard moment in Brazil and elsewhere.

"To be a role model for someone, to make people happy, it gives me joy. I love the story that I'm writing here, I want my family and friends to be proud. I hope everyone who loves this game are proud of me, because these numbers don't really mean anything, only the pride of representing Brazil."

How did Pele respond?

"Every time I see this boy, he is smiling," wrote Pele. "It's impossible not to smile back. It is contagious.

"I, like all Brazilians, am always happy when I see him playing. Today, he took another step towards my goalscoring record for the Selecao. And I'm rooting for him to get there, with the same joy I've had since I saw him play for the first time."

 

Will Neymar break Pele's record?

Neymar looks to be in a strong position to break Pele's Brazil goal record, with the 29-year-old needing 10 more at international level to go past the legendary former striker.

Having netted 68 goals in 107 caps, the PSG forward is scoring at a better rate than one every two games and with seemingly plenty of time left in his international career, it should be sooner rather than later that he gets even closer to Pele.

That said, injuries have to be taken into account and Neymar will be hoping to stay fit to continue to lead his country, at this Copa America being held in his home country and beyond that too.

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