Pele sure Ney­mar can lead Brazil to glory

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT -

BRAZIL­IAN leg­end Pele says he is con­fi­dent of Brazil’s chances at the up­com­ing World Cup and ex­pects in­jured star Ney­mar to be fully fit to lead the side in Rus­sia.

The 77 year old, who has been in ail­ing health re­cently, has put his faith in Paris Saint-Ger­main striker Ney­mar’s abil­ity to re­cover from a frac­tured foot in time to lead Brazil to a pos­si­ble sixth global foot­ball ti­tle.

“We don’t know ex­actly what is go­ing to hap­pen, but I think for the World Cup he’s go­ing to be in shape be­cause his in­jury is not so bad,” Pele, the only per­son to have won the World Cup three times as a player, said.

“I wish he has the same luck I had in the World Cup.”

PSG’s Ney­mar, the world’s most ex­pen­sive player, has not played since break­ing a metatarsal bone in his right foot on Fe­bru­ary 25 in a Ligue 1 match against Mar­seille.

He said last week he is still re­cov­er­ing fol­low­ing surgery but ex­pects to be fit in time for the World Cup from June 14 to July 15.

In the last World Cup on home soil four years ago, Brazil were hu­mil­i­ated 7-1 by even­tual win­ners Ger­many in the semi­fi­nals but Pele feels the team un­der “psy­chol­o­gist” Tite, which breezed through South Amer­i­can qual­i­fy­ing, has the tools to go all the way.

“I am con­fi­dent be­cause Tite, the new coach, has had a lit­tle time to set up the team.

“We have a lot of ex­cel­lent play­ers in Eu­rope. The prob­lem is to put the team to­gether.

“I think we’re go­ing to have a good team in the next World Cup.”

Pele said he ex­pected few sur­prises at the tour­na­ment, iden­ti­fy­ing Lionel Messi’s Ar­gentina, Ger­many, Eng­land and France as po­ten­tial chal­lengers, al­though he didn’t men­tion 2010 world cham­pi­ons Spain or cur­rent Euro­pean lau­re­ates Por­tu­gal, led by their tal­is­man Cris­tiano Ron­aldo.

How­ever, he said “foot­ball is a box of sur­prises”.

As for his own health prob­lems, Pele can­celled a trip to Eng­land in Jan­uary due to “ex­haus­tion”, al­though his spokesper­son de­nied he had been hos­pi­talised, Pele said there was lit­tle cause for con­cern.

“I can­not play in the next World Cup but I feel good,” he said with a hearty laugh.

“I had an in­jury, then I had to make a surgery for my hip, then I had to re­place it, then I had a lit­tle prob­lem with my menis­cus, but now I am okay, I am ready and in good shape.” – AFP


CON­FI­DENT: Pele wishes Ney­mar the same luck he had in the World Cup.

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