Dubai: Former Manchester United star Gary Neville has tipped his ex-teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to overtake Pele’s goal-scoring record and achieve the ‘greatest of all time’ label.
In a television interview late on Friday, Gary Neville – the older of the twin siblings [Phil] – has spoken about Ronaldo’s intense drive and passion to be the best-ever in his trade.
“It’s an obsession with scoring goals and applying himself every day, being the fittest he can possibly be. I think he’s lifted his professionalism every single year and progressed. I think he has a plan to go on and take over Pele’s record [of the highest number of goals]. He wants to be the greatest of all time and that is his sole purpose,” Neville told TV channel Sky Sports.
“Understanding that along the way if he is the greatest of all time, the teams that he plays for will win trophies and be successful,” the Manchester United and England right-back, added.
Ronaldo has enjoyed a hug Gary Neville tips Ronaldo to overtake Pele’s goal-scoring record ely successful career at the highest level spanning 18 years, during which time he has established himself as one of the top performers of his generation.
His (Ronaldo) drive to become the best in the world was out of this world. He was one of the few players that I’ve played with that would publicly announce that individual trophies were important to him
The 35-year-old has so far won three Premier League titles, two La Liga crowns, one Scudetto and five European Cups during his spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus. He has also picked up five Ballon d’Or awards along the way.
Brazilian legend Pele is seen as the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history with his 650 goals in 694 matches. The 79-year-old figures in the Guinness World Records for his total of 1281 goals in 1363 matches, including unofficial friendlies.
Ronaldo, in contrast, has 571 club goals in 758 matches at various stages of his career at Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid. In addition, the 35-year-old has 81 goals in 149 matches that he’s figured in with the Portugal national side for a total of 652 goals – till now a record for the 21st century.
“His drive to become the best in the world was out of this world. He was one of the few players that I’ve played with that would publicly announce that individual trophies were important to him,” Neville said in the interview.
“He just wanted to be the very best and what he’s done over the years has been absolutely exceptional. His achievements have been amazing and he’s worked hard for it,” he added.
Co-owner of Salford City, Neville joined Sky Sports as a television pundit following his retirement in 2011. From 2012 to 2016, Neville served as assistant coach for the England national team. In 2015, he took over as coach with Spanish side Valencia, only to be sacked within a season.
A one-club man following an entire playing career at Old Trafford, Neville is also one of the most decorated players in England with a total of 20 trophies, including eight Premier League titles and the Uefa Champions Leagues on two occasions.