Pele backs Neymar for World Cup redemption

source : - 16 April 2018

Former Brazil star Pele has backed Neymar to inspire the team to redemption at the 2018 World Cup finals.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward was injured in the quarter-final win over Colombia on home soil four years ago and therefore missed the 7-1 destruction at the hands of Germany in the last four.

Tite`s side have been tipped to make amends at this year`s tournament in Russia, though, after they breezed through qualifying to top the South American section with 12 wins and one defeat from 18 matches.

And Pele, a three-time winner of the World Cup, hopes Neymar takes advantage of a great opportunity for international glory.

He already has a second chance because, unfortunately, what happened in Brazil – disaster, Pele, speaking courtesy of Hublot, told Omnisport. 

The last World Cup in Brazil, he got the injury, and Brazil lost. I think this is a great, great opportunity for him to recover. I think he`s a good player. Let`s see if he can help Brazil [win] this World Cup.

Pele believes Brazil boast the best collection of individual talents in the world and now hopes Tite can fit them into a strong system in time for their first group game against Switzerland on June 17.

Everybody knows Brazil have the best individual players in Europe, he said. I think our coach, Tite, has had little time to set up the team. We have three months to set up the team. Tite is a very good coach, but he doesn`t yet have the team working together. This will be a short time for them. 

But individual players, no doubt Brazil has a team to get to the final of the World Cup.

The 77-year-old suspects there could be some surprises in store, though, given the shock of Italy`s failure to qualify for the tournament.

Always we select the biggest names [as favourites], like Argentina, Italy, England, Spain, he said. But football is a box of surprises and it`s difficult to say. This World Cup, the teams are very even. You wouldn`t have one big team.

Then you have some surprises. Italy is out. For football, it`s not good. Then you have two or three great teams who didn`t qualify. As I mentioned, football is always a box of surprises.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Pele`s first World Cup triumph and the former Santos forward still remembers the emotion of being called up to the squad as a 17-year-old.

I played four World Cups. The first one always is a little special, because I didn`t expect it, because I was 17 years old, he added. 

My father was a football player too and when my father came to my house after work, he said `listen, you have been selected for the national team of Brazil`. I said `Daddy, don`t make a joke`. He said `no, no, no, it`s not a joke, it`s true`. I started to cry, because it was a big surprise to me.

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