Pele says Neymar is ready to carry Brazil’s torch at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, despite having to do so against tough opposition and under intense pressure.
Pele told Agence France Presse that the experience Neymar, 22, has gained while playing for Barcelona this season will help him shine on the biggest stage.
“This is Neymar’s first World Cup, and nobody knows exactly what is going to happen,” Pele said. “It is a big responsibility for him.”
“The best thing for Neymar was to come to play in Spain, to play in Europe, the best thing for Brazil,” Pele added.” It was like him going off to university for six months and then coming back to play with Brazil, because then they come with more experience. That was fantastic for him.”
Brazil is among the favorites to win every World Cup, but expectations are even greater this time around as Brazil hosts the tournament. Pele says the pressure of realizing the dreams of a nation could become a burden to Neymar and his teammates.
“The problem of pressure is not only a problem for Neymar,” Pele said. “It is a problem for the whole team, no doubt. Of course, the country, the people, they want to win.”
Pele then picked his favorites to win the World Cup without settling on one in particular.
“We have two or three teams who right now, three months before the World Cup, we can say are very good,” Pele said. “I’m thinking of Germany, because I have seen them play many times; Spain, because they have had the same team for eight years, and of course Brazil.
“But you must respect Italy, and in South America, Chile is the best team today. The World Cup is always a box of surprises.”
Photo via Facebook/Pele