Brazilian football legend Pele has publicly praised the goalscoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo on social media after the Juventus forward bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 Serie A win over Cagliari on Sunday.
Ronaldo grabbed all three goals in the first 32 minutes of the match with a header, a right-footed penalty, and a left-foot shot as Juventus bounced back from their midweek Champions League exit.
Those three goals mean the 36-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner has now scored an incredible tally of 770 with the player acknowledging the feat on Instagram and praising Pele’s impact on him growing up.
Cristiano wrote on his social media saying: “My everlasting and unconditional admiration for mister Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele), such is the respect that I have for mid-20th century football, led me to take into account his 767 score, assuming his nine goals for Sao Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals.
“Today, as I reach the 770th official goal in my professional career, my first words go straight to Pele. There’s no player in the world who hasn’t been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals and his achievements, and I’m no exception.
“And for that reason, I’m filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the world’s goalscoring list, overcoming Pele’s record, something that I could never have dreamed of while growing up as a child from Madeira.”
FIFA has not been keeping an official record of all-time goalscoring and the benchmark has been a very contentious one with Pele now regarded as third on the all-time list.
Nevertheless, the 80-year-old former Santos striker who helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970 quickly took to his own Instagram to congratulate Ronaldo on his latest achievement.
“Life is a solo flight. Each makes his own journey. And what a beautiful journey you are having. I admire you a lot, I love watching you play and this is no secret to anyone,” Pele wrote.
“Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. My only regret is not being able to give you a hug today.”