Pele relishes football gold as Neymar steps down as Brazil’s captain
Brazil’s football great, Pele, has styled the nation’s famous first Olympic men’s football accomplishment as the “perfect ending” to the Rio Games.
Pele played an integral role in three of Brazil’s five World Cup triumphs, but the nation had never tasted Olympic glory prior to Saturday’s meeting with Germany at the Maracana.
After Neymar’s free-kick had been cancelled out by Max Meyer, a penalty shootout was required to separate the men’s finalists.
Yet it was Brazil who eventually prevailed, talisman Neymar converting the winning kick from 12 yards after Nils Petersen’s effort had been saved by Weverton.
Success for the home nation prompted a huge outpouring of joy at the Maracana, with Neymar – part of the team that lost the 2012 Olympic final to Mexico – in tears after sealing gold.
Pele duly tweeted: “I have so many memories from Maracana, and today a new one was created. What a perfect ending to the Olympic Games.
“Brazil showed excellence both on and off the field.”
Meanwhile, Neymar has announced he intends to step down as Brazil captain after guiding the country to the long-awaited Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016.
Appointed captain of the senior team by Dunga following the 2014 World Cup, Neymar also skippered the largely under-23 side at the Olympic Games on home soil.
The gold medal remained the only international honour evading Brazil, and the 24-year-old clinched it with the winning penalty in a 5-4 shootout victory over Germany.
Neymar’s spot-kick sparked scenes of euphoria inside the famous Maracana, but it did not stop the forward revealing that, he no longer wanted the armband.