Legendary Brazilian footballer Pele described his country’s historic first Olympic men’s football triumph 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 final meeting with Germany at the Maracana Stadium here.
Brazil’s captain Neymar scored from a free-kick as the match was undecided 1-1 after regulation time. He then sealed Brazil’s win converting the fifth penalty in a 5-4 shoot-out victory.
“I have so many memories from Maracana, and on Sunday a new one was created. What a perfect ending to the Olympic games,” Pele tweeted after the win on Saturday.
“Brazil showed excellence both on and off the field. #GOLD #BRA #Olympics,” the 75-year-old added.
Success for the home nation prompted a huge outpouring of joy at the Maracana, with Neymar — member of the team that lost the 2012 Olympic final to Mexico — in tears after sealing the gold medal.
On the other hand, Brazil football superstar Neymar labelled winning Rio Olympic gold as one of the “best things” of his life as he hit back at critics following Brazil’s dramatic win over Germany here in the final.
Neymar said it was an unforgettable moment after sending the Maracana Stadium into raptures on Saturday.
“This is one of the best things that have happened in my life. That’s it. Now my critics will have to shut up,” Neymar was quoted as saying after the win on Saturday. “I can’t begin to describe my feelings. I have fulfilled my dream and to have fulfilled it in my home country makes me very proud.”
All the talk in the lead up was about the 2014 World Cup semi-final, in which Germany humiliated a Brazil side, missing the injured Neymar, 7-1 in Belo Horizonte.
Weverton was full of praise for Neymar, saying, “God has blessed me. The gold is ours, but it belongs to God.”
“I told Neymar that God had given him a second chance. God loves Neymar like he loves all of this