Brazilian soccer fans cheer during the World Cup group G match between Brazil and Serbia, at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, on Thursday. AP / Reuters
Football legend Pele gave Brazil a virtual pre-match pep talk on Thursday as the national team prepared to make their World Cup debut, telling them: “Bring this trophy home.”
As the five-time champions prepared to take the pitch for their opening match against Serbia, the 82-year-old icon posted a series of photos of his past World Cup glories on Instagram, telling Neymar and his teammates: “Today we start writing a new story.”
“We will be more than 200 million hearts beating as one, vibrating with each achievement of our ‘Selecao,'” wrote Pele, the only player in history to win three World Cups.
“We must respect and play each match with the focus of a final. It is important to play beautifully, yes, but it is also essential to leave everything on the pitch,” he wrote.
“I send these pictures to inspire you guys… I am sending all positive energies to you. I’m sure we’ll have a happy ending. God bless you. Bring this trophy home.”
Considered by many the greatest footballer of all time, Pele has had a series of health problems in recent years, but remains active on social media.