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Gary Neville claims Cristiano Ronaldo will not retire before breaking Pele record

Neville claims Ronaldo will not retire before breaking Pele record
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Gary Neville believes that his former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, now 35, will carry on playing until he surpasses Pele's record goal tally of 1,282.

Gary Neville has claimed that his former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo will not retire until he surpasses Pele as the greatest goalscorer in football history.

Pele is currently recognised as the leading scorer of all time, having netted 1,282 times in 1,363 games, although that figure includes a number of goals scored in exhibition matches and unofficial friendlies.

Ronaldo, now 35, is still some way behind Pele with 725 career goals for club and country, but Neville believes that he will be determined to play on until he is statistically the best ever.

"His drive was out of this world to become the best in the world. He's one of the very few players that I've played with that would publicly announce that the individual trophies were important to him," Neville told Sky Sports News.

"He just wanted to be the very, very best in the world and it's so important to him. It's an obsession. Absolute obsession with scoring goals. Applying himself every single day, being the fittest he can possibly be. I think he's lifted his professionalism every single year and progressed.

"Jamie [Carragher] mentioned before about James Milner wanting to play into his late 30s and 40s. I think he [Ronaldo] has a plan to go on and take over Pele's record. I genuinely believe he wants to go on and beat Pele's numbers.

"That's where I think he's at in his mind, he wants to be the greatest of all time, that is his sole purpose, 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."

Ronaldo is already closing in on becoming the highest international goalscorer ever, with only Iran's Ali Daei having netted more than the Portugal talisman's tally of 99.

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani pictured in action for Portugal in 2017
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United StatesUnited States1011930
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Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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