Pele confident Neymar can lead Brazil at FIFA World Cup | football | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Apr 16, 2018-Monday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Pele confident Neymar can lead Brazil at FIFA World Cup

Pele, who has been in ailing health recently, put his faith in Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Neymar’s ability to recover from a fractured foot in time to lead Brazil football to a possible sixth FIFA World Cup title in Russia.

football Updated: Apr 16, 2018 19:22 IST
Brazilian football team legend Pele (2nd-R) poses for a photograph at the Dubai Opera gardens prior to a friendly football game on Sunday.
Brazilian football team legend Pele (2nd-R) poses for a photograph at the Dubai Opera gardens prior to a friendly football game on Sunday.(AFP)

Brazilian legend Pele says he is confident about Brazil football team’s chances at the upcoming FIFA 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, put his faith in Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) 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,” said Pele, the only person to have won the FIFA World Cup three times as a player.

READ MORE | East Bengal through to Super Cup final after 1-0 win over FC Goa

“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.

Excellent players

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

READ MORE | Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes confirms surgery for Arturo Vidal

“I am confident because Tite, the new coach, now (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”.

READ MORE | Mohun Bagan have shown lot of character: Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca

As for his own health problems -- Pele cancelled a trip to England in January due to “exhaustion”, although his spokesman 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 the head of my hip, then I had to replace (it), then I had a little problem with my meniscus, but now I am OK, I am ready, in good shape!”