Brazilian football legend Pele said on Monday that he had no intention to be the president of Fifa, even as he refused to answer queries about the crisis engulfing world football’s governing body.
“No, I don’t have any intention to be president of Fifa,” the 74-year-old told the media at a press conference in Kolkata on Monday.
However, when a journalist asked whether the massive crisis in the Fifa with its president Sepp Blatter under suspension saddened him, the organisers of the triple World Cup winner’s first visit to India in 38 years said he would not take any questions on the apex body.
Pele then expressed his views on the current superstars of world football, saying that among all the players who have plied their trade over the past ten years, Argentine Lionel Messi was the best.
But he refused to compare Messi with the former greats, saying it was difficult to draw comparison between “past players and those playing at the moment”.
“But, of course, in the last ten years, Messi was the best player,” Pele said at a media conference here.
He also said Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi were two different kind of players.
“Lot of people compare Messi with Ronaldo. But they are two different kind of players. Roanldo is a more scorer (sort of), player, ... more centre forward. Messi plays more deeper. But both are fantastic.”
Speaking about Neymar, who has been Brazil’s poster boy for the last few years, Pele said: “I hope Neymar wins a trophy for Brazil, and he hails from Santos, the club I used to play for. My son Edinho was the one who trained him, so I feel proud and happy. He has a good future.”
“Neymar, he could be one of the best players now, at the moment, no doubt,” he said.
The 74-year-old was a part of the Brazilian World Cup winning sides of 1958, 1962 and 1970 and exuded confidence he would have achieved the same level of success playing in the modern era. “Modern day football is tough, but yes I would have still achieved the same feat that I had so many years back. Footballers are born. God gave me the gift to play football,” he said.
Pele, considered the most complete footballer the game has ever seen, conceded that his legendary teammates too contributed to his success. “When I started playing football at 17, there was a buzz in Brazil surrounding me, everybody said “look at this player”.
“But then I had some great team-mates too in the form of Garrincha, Didi and Vava. Later I have played with the likes of Zico. When I was with New York Cosmos, I played with the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia. I did not play alone, there was someone who always played beside and with me,” Pele recalled.
The Brazilian also said he was very disappointed with Brazil’s World Cup campaign in 2014 where they lost 1-7 to Germany in the semis.
“We have some of the best players in Brazil but unfortunately we did not have much time to prepare the team before the World Cup. You have to have the players together for a longer time to prepare better but that wasn’t possible. Now a days players managers decide for them if they would be playing for the country or the club,” he said.
“Presently we have a lot of problems in different positions of the field.”
Pele also named former England footballer Bobby Moore as the best he has ever seen.
“People don’t take much notice of defenders. To me the best was Bobby Moore. But over the last ten years without a doubt it is Messi.”