Real Madrid forward Rodrygo said it was an honor for him to wear Pele’s No 10 jersey for Brazil national team.
Brazil took on 2022 World Cup semifinalist and emerging bulwarks in African football Morocco in their first international friendly after the World Cup and after the burial of Pele.
Brazil interim manager Ramon Menezes handed the number 10 to Rodrygo in a symbolic move to honor Pele by handing the shirt to one of most promising Brazil youngsters.
Speaking in a post-match press conference before flying the shirt in the friendly against Morocco, Rodrygo expressed his excitement by being selected to step into the shoes of the legendary Brazil footballer and world football icon.
He added the team will “run for Pele” in the game against Morocco by ensuring they win to honor the legacy of the football icon.
Rodrygo also spoke of his relationship with Pele adding he went to the footballer’s house and spoke with him personally with great admiration for his personality before he joined Real Madrid from Brazil.
“I hope he’s in a good place. Here, we are going to run for him to honor everything he did”, he said.
“We are aware that today we are known thanks to him.”
“I went to his house before I went to Real Madrid and we had a very good chat.
“I already admired him before I met him and after that conversation, I started to admire him a lot more.”
The Real Madrid forward said donning the number 10 shirt for Brazil, Pele’s iconic number when he was with the national team, was a great honor, and besides, he is also happy to have come from the same academy, Santos, as Pele and Neymar.
Pele was regarded as the greatest Brazilian player that ever lived and has wielded enormous influence both in Brazil and world football.
He was the first and only player in Brazil and World Football to win three different World Cup trophies as a player. Pele died on December 29 in Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paul, Brazil after a long battle with cancer.
He was laid to rest in a glamorous funeral service in Brazil with the creme de la creme of world football in attendance at the occasion.
In the match against Morocco at the Grand Stade de Tanger in Morocco on Saturday, the name of Pele was printed on the jerseys worn by all the players.
The no.10 is Neymar’s designated shirt number, but the Brazil team had to improvise with Rodrygo to honor Pele since the PSG star was nursing an ankle injury in Doha.
Brazil lost first friendly after Pele’s death to Morocco
Contrary to Rodrygo’s projections in his post-match press conference, Brazil suffered a shock defeat to Morocco during the international friendly.
The five times world champions were humbled by a resilient and hard-fighting Moroccan side in a pulsating encounter.
Boufai opened the scoring for the emerging African bulwarks before Casemiro canceled out the opener in the second half to draw the game level in the 68th minute.
The Brazilians were punished again in the 79th minute when Sabiri charged with courage into the Brazil box and fired pass Weverton to return Morocco to the lead.
The goal was enough to condemn the Selecao to a 2-1 defeat while the Moroccans ran away with a famous win.