Pelé sends message of support to Neymar after World Cup exit

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. commiserate / kəˈmɪz əˌreɪt / (v.) – to express sympathy to someone who has experienced something bad

    The coach commiserated with the players who lost the championship game.

  2. figure / ˈfɪg yər / (n.) – an amount or value expressed in numbers

    The company had a fruitful year based on the figures.

  3. equalize / ˈi kwəˌlaɪz / (v.) – to make the score of one’s team equal with the opposing team

    The point from the free kick equalized the teams’ scores.

  4. montage / mɒnˈtɑʒ / (n.) – a picture made by combining several different pictures

    The organization posted a montage of cancer survivors to inspire others.

  5. forward / ˈfɔr wərd / (n.) – an attacking player who plays near the opponent’s goal

    The team’s forward scored several points within the first 20 minutes of the game.


Read the text below.

Brazilian soccer great Pelé congratulated Neymar for matching his national team scoring record on December 9, and then commiserated with the player for his World Cup exit.

Pelé, who has been hospitalized while 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.

“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 Pelé 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,” Pelé 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.”

Neymar scored Brazil’s only goal against Croatia at Education City Stadium, giving him 77 for the national team. The Croats later equalized and advanced to the semifinals by winning the shootout 4-2 after a 1-1 draw.

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.

“Keep inspiring us,” Pelé 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.”

Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, won three World Cups with Brazil. He had surgery to remove a colon tumor in 2021 and is also going through chemotherapy in his fight against cancer.

Pelé’s daughters, Kely and Flavia Nascimento, posted a montage of their father and Neymar together in celebration of the forward’s scoring mark.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Neymar reached the record set by Pelé after 50 years, but his team had to exit the World Cup. How do you think Neymar feels about this? Discuss.
  • Neymar walked off the field in tears and left it open whether he will continue playing for the national team. Do you think he should keep playing? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • According to some sources, Neymar looks up to Pelé. Do you think having someone to look up to is important to a person’s success? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Pelé congratulated Neymar for his achievement. How would you feel if someone great in your field congratulated you personally? Discuss.