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Pele backs Brazil to win sixth World Cup


Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Footballing legend Pele said on Monday that Brazil are favourites to win the World Cup in Russia, four years on from their humiliation on home soil.

Five-time winners Brazil were thrashed 7-1 in the 2014 semi-finals by eventual champions Germany at the Maracana, but Pele, considered one of the best players of all time, insisted that new coach Tite has formed a team ready to put his country’s painful memories to rest.

“Those who are Brazilian and believe in Brazil always point to Brazil as the favourites,” the 77-year-old said while attending the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro league.

The Selecao romped to qualification as winners of the South American group, with Tite building an exciting side featuring the world’s most expensive player Neymar and new Barcelona signing Philippe Coutinho.

“One of the good things that happened was the arrival of Tite, he’s making a team,” Pele added.

“In the last World Cup we had the best players in the world but the team was disorganised.

“It seems that now we’ll have a team and a Selecao that gives us confidence.”

Pele, who won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, has been struggling with ill health and Monday was his first public appearance with a zimmer frame, having attended December’s World Cup draw in a wheelchair.

“I’m fine, thank goodness, and I want to thank all those who sent me messages wishing me a good recovery from all over the world,” he said.

Pele, who scored over 1,000 goals during his career, also claimed that modern football produces fewer great players than in his era, despite the presence of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

“Today, there are only three players who really stand out; Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar,” he said.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joel Charles

    January 15, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Brazil responds well to adversity, it would be a mistake to not pick Brazil to win the world cup. The 1950 humiliation led to their first cup 8yrs later. They were criticize to not winning for so long from 1970 to 1990, even though they finish close to top, and were cheated out of a finals spot in 1978, were criticize heavily for not winning in 1982 with that super team of Zico, Socrates and Falcoa. They changed their style and won in 1994.
    In 1998 they get humiliated 3-0 by France, with the team in turmoil with the starlet Ronaldo having a seizure just hours before the final. Most countries would have been happy because they lost to the home team. Brazil came back and won the whole thing in 2002. They will beat Germany in the final in Russia. Neymar will be finally win a Ballon D’or

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