Brazil legend Pelé has claimed he has reservations over the chances of his nation winning the 2018 World Cup, despite being hot favourites to do so, because he believes the side is yet to show signs of gelling as a unit.
Speaking ahead of the international football tournament, via Reuters, the Seleção legend said: “I have the utmost confidence in [manager] Tite’s ability. My worry is about one thing; there are only a few days until the World Cup starts and we still don’t have the right team. Individually all the players are very good. But we’re not a team.”
Brazil suffered humiliation in the 2014 tournament that they hosted, after being unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the semi-final following a 7-1 hammering by a rampant Germany side who went on to lift the trophy. The side have recovered considerably since, and topped their qualification group by ten points ahead of this summer’s competition.
Pivotal to the South American nation’s hopes will be the performance of Paris Saint-Germain talisman Neymar, who has missed much of the season with a foot injury. Assessing the tenacious forward’s importance, Pelé said: “Neymar is to me one of the best players in the world. Today he is more mature and he has more experience.
“But he isn’t going to win the World Cup on his own. It’s teams that win the World Cup. The greatest Brazil team of all-time was the one in 1970, with Tostao, Rivellino, Gerson and Pele all wearing the number 10 shirts for their clubs. In the 1970 World Cup we spent more than six months together. That’s why it worked.”
In other World Cup news, Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has been talking up his side’s chances of success in Russia this summer, contending that Die Mannschaft are even better than they were in 2014. Joachim Low’s side will certainly fancy themselves to retain the trophy, given the exceptional array of talent available in all areas of the team.