Agents ru­in­ing Brazil stars – Pele

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Brazil still pro­duces the world’s best foot­ballers but the grow­ing in­flu­ence of agents on lead­ing play­ers has cre­ated a moun­tain of woes for the na­tional side, Pele said yesterday.

The leg­endary Brazil­ian, the only player to fea­ture in three World Cup-win­ning teams, said the pas­sion for football was as strong as ever but ac­knowl­edged the “Sele­cao” were strug­gling with a host of prob­lems.

“We have not lost pas­sion for football,” Pele said in the eastern city of Kolkata at the start of a visit to In­dia.

“In­di­vid­u­ally we have the best play­ers but as a team we’ve a lot of prob­lems.

“In my time the play­ers be­longed to clubs but to­day play­ers are man­aged by their agents,” Pele was quoted as say­ing by the Press Trust of In­dia news agency.

Af­ter their 7-1 World Cup semi­fi­nal hu­mil­i­a­tion by Ger­many last year, Brazil were elim­i­nated from the Copa Amer­ica in June at the hands of min­nows Paraguay.

And their bid to qual­ify for the 2018 World Cup got off to a dis­as­trous start last week when they lost 2-0 to Chile, their first de­feat against their op­po­nents in 15 years.

Nearly all of Brazil’s lead­ing stars play abroad and there are reg­u­lar com­plaints that play­ers are too of­ten ex­ploited by agents who are only in­ter­ested in mak­ing money.

The agents have of­ten been at log­ger­heads with the football author­i­ties. Star striker Ney­mar’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Wag­ner Ribeiro called the then­coach Luiz Felipe Sco­lari “ar­ro­gant, re­pul­sive (and) con­ceited” af­ter Brazil’s 2014 World Cup flop.

Pele did not com­ment on the re­cent con­tro­ver­sies dog­ging FIFA but added that he had “no in­ten­tion to con­test for the post of pres­i­dent.”

Pep Guardi­ola

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