Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to Pele after he surpassed the Brazilian legend’s goal record in official matches by netting a hat-trick in Juventus’ 3-1 Serie A win over Cagliari on Sunday.
Ronaldo, 36, had previously been hailed in the media for breaking the record when he reached 760 goals as he had supposedly surpassed the record set by Austro-Czech striker Josef Bican.
But the Czech FA said in January that Bican’s total was actually 821 goals, following a review of his statistics during a career spanning from 1931 to 1955.
On Sunday, however, Ronaldo ignored Bican’s revised total to claim he was now on top of the scoring pile.
“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 9 goals for Sao Paulo State Team, as well as his single goal for the Brazilian Military Team, as official goals,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
“Thanks to all of those who took part of this amazing journey with me. To my teammates, to my opponents, to the fans of the beautiful game all over the World and, above all, to my family and close friends: trust me when I say that I couldn’t have done it without you.
“Now I can’t wait for the next games and challenges! The next records and trophees! Believe me, this story is still far from being over. The future is tomorrow and there’s still a lot to win for Juventus and Portugal!”
Pele, who helped Brazil to win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and claims to have scored 1,283 goals, still congratulated Ronaldo on Sunday.
“@cristiano , 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.
“Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. My only regret is not being able to give you a hug today,” he wrote on Instagram.