Football legend Pele has stated that his country, Brazil are favourites to claim the World Cup for the sixth time in Russia this summer, just four years after their intense humiliation in the hands of Germany on home soil.
The Brazilians were dismantled 7:1 in the 2014 semi-finals at the Maracana, but Pele who is arguably the best football player ever has insisted that new coach, Tite has built a team that can really compete on the biggest stage.
“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 on Monday. The Selecao outplayed all to qualify as winners of the South American group, with Tite building a thrilling side featuring the world’s most expensive player Neymar and new Barcelona acquisition 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 disorganized. “It seems that now we’ll have a team and a Selecao that gives us confidence.”
Pele in his illustrious career won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and has been battling with ill health, Monday was his first public appearance after some few weeks as he has attended the World Cup draw in December 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 scored over 1,000 goals during his career. He also said that modern football has produced fewer great players than in his era, despite the brilliance of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar. “Today, there are only three players who really stand out; Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar,” he said. “Before, at the time of Cruyff or Beckenbauer, there were three in each team.”