Neymar breaks down in tears after stunning display in Copa America win puts star closer to Pele’s Brazil goal record

NEYMAR broke down in tears after taking another step towards Pele’s Brazil goal record in a scintillating Copa America victory over Peru.

The all-time great’s tally of 77 is just nine away for the Paris Saint-Germain star following Thursday night’s 4-0 win.

And the chance to overtake the legendary Pele led to Neymar breaking down while giving a heartfelt response post-game.

He stated: “It’s moving for me, I’ve been through a lot these last two years.

“These 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.”

Pele, 80, took to Instagram to call on Neymar to do his country proud by taking the record.

He wrote: “Every time I see this boy, he is smiling.

“It’s impossible not to smile back. It is contagious. I, like all Brazilians, am always happy when I see him playing soccer.

“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.”

Copa America hosts Brazil took the lead after only 12 minutes as Neymar delivered a cross from the left flank that was headed clear.

But Manchester City ace Gabriel Jesus returned the ball to the penalty area where Alex Sandro was left alone to fire it into the back of the net.

The Brazilians thought they would double their lead from the penalty spot on 61 minutes but VAR ruled that Neymar had gone down on his own while under pressure from Renato Tapia.

But that didn’t matter as the 29-year-old got his goal anyway in the 68th minute with a stunning long-range shot after a pass by Fred caught Peru’s backline off guard.

Tite’s men made it three just a minute before full-time when Neymar passed to Richarlison on his left and the Everton ace delivered a through ball for Everton Ribeiro to finish off a beautiful move.

And Richarlison sealed another key win in the third minute of stoppage time when Neymar produced an incredible through ball to Roberto Firmino, but the Liverpool star was denied by Pedro Gallese.

Richarlison then fired a shot of his own that was blocked by a defender, only for the Toffees star to try again and this time hit the net.

Peru spent most of the match trying to control Brazil’s tempo by holding on to the ball, which is why they dominated possession at half-time.

But Gareca’s men couldn’t provide much threat as the Selecao’s centre-back duo of Chelsea star Thiago Silva and Real Madrid ace Eder Militao comfortably kept striker Gianluca Lapadula quiet.

The closest Peru came to scoring came on 78 minutes when Alex Valera found himself in front of Ederson after a set-piece – but sent the ball over the crossbar.

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

A look back at Pele’s glittering career in numbers


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