Copa America: Brazil forward Neymar emotional discussing importance of national side

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar became emotional when talking about the importance of the Brazil national team holds in his life.

Neymar scored his 68th goal for his country in Thursday's 4-0 win over Peru in the Copa America as Brazil maintained their perfect start to the tournament.

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"For me it's a great honour to be part of the history of the Brazilian team," a tearful Neymar said after Thursday's game. "To be honest, it was always a dream of mine to play for Brazil.

"I never imagined being able to reach these numbers. It's quite exciting because I've gone through so much in these two years, which have been difficult. I want my family and friends to be proud of the history that I'm building here."

Brazil went into the 2021 Copa America after a turbulent build-up. Neymar and his teammates refused to speak to the media after CONMEBOL announced earlier this month the change of venue for the tournament which was originally supposed to be held in Argentina and Colombia.

Brazil players issued a statement five days before the start of the tournament confirming they were going to play even though they were against the event taking place.

"I'm never going to say no to my country," Neymar, who has made 107 appearances for Brazil since making his senior debut in 2010, said. "We expressed our opinion, but we are here.

"It was difficult, but the joy of being on the pitch with the national team is always going to be there. Today we are living in a very unusual time. It was a very difficult moment in the whole world [because of the coronavirus pandemic] and to be able to bring joy to people is an enormous pleasure."

Brazil legend Pele said he believes Neymar spreads happiness all around and is "rooting" for the ex-Barcelona attacker to break his own goalscoring record with national side.

A three-time World Cup winner, Pele scored 77 goals for Brazil and Neymar, 29, needs 10 more to surpass him.

"Every time I see this boy, he is smiling;" Pele wrote on Instagram regarding Neymar. "It is impossible not to smile back.

"It is contagious. I, like all Brazilians, am always happy when I see him playing football. Today, he took another step towards my goalscoring record for the Selecao. And I am rooting for him to get there, with the same joy I have had since I saw him play for the first time."

Brazil coach Tite said he believes the tactics used by his team and by PSG are so that Neymar "can explode all his talent."

"I don't know how far Neymar can go," Tite said after Thursday's game. "His technical ability... I really hope he remains healthy, doesn't get hurt, that he has that maturity.

"Within the national team, and I believe at his club as well, we are giving him creative freedom and he is giving a contribution to the team, especially in terms of pressing. We give him a greater area of ​​action, so that he can explode all his talent...This harmonious combination allows him to be effective."