'Stay with Santos' Pele urges Neymar

Brazilian great Pele downplays rift with FA chief Ricardo Teixeira and advises young talent Neymar to stay in Brazil.

     Neymar is the latest Brazilian wonderkid to attract attention from the big clubs in Europe [GALLO/GETTY] 

    New Brazilian talent Neymar has been advised to follow in the footsteps of Pele by none other than Pele himself.

    Brazil great Pele says in-demand compatriot should follow his example and stay with Santos rather than move to Europe.

    The striker's performances for Santos have drawn comparisons with Pele at the same age and the 19-year-old has been linked to both Chelsea and Manchester City in the English Premier League.

    However, 70-year-old Pele, who won three World Cups and spent virtually all his career at Santos, thinks Neymar would be best served by developing at home first.

    "He can be a great player, he can be like (Lionel) Messi or Ronaldo, no doubt," Pele told reporters at an event in London on Tuesday to launch an opus for the New York Cosmos, where he ended his career.

    "But I think it's a little complicated for him to move to a club in England or Italy at the moment. The marking is very tight there.

    "But I think it's a little complicated for him to move to a club in England or Italy at the moment. The marking is very tight there"


    "He would find that a little difficult because he's very young. The game is very physical in England and Italy. Maybe in Holland or France or even Spain it would be better for him."

    With Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014, Pele believes it would be good for his country's chances to keep Neymar away from the clutches of Europe's biggest clubs.

    "I think it is very difficult to keep him in Brazil," Pele said.

    "Santos is my team and he started there with us. I hope he stays there until more or less the 2014 World Cup but it will be a little difficult to keep him here.

    "He hasn't reached his potential yet, but he is already an excellent player."

    Downplays rift

    Pele also played down his feud with Brazilian FA chief Ricardo Teixeira saying the most important thing was that his country stage a memorable World Cup in 2014.

    Pele said he was confident Brazil's preparations to stage the tournament were on track despite some "scares" regarding stadiums and transport.

    Pele, arguably the best player ever, was initially snubbed by Teixeira for the draw for the preliminary rounds of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

    However, Pele did play a role after being appointed his country's international World Cup ambassador by Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.

    "Everybody has enemies, even when you don't know," Pele told reporters. 

    "The most important thing is that we have an excellent World Cup in Brazil. This doesn't affect the football, we are just going to work hard.

         Pele doesn't look altogether happy about Teixeira's advances during FIFA World Cup draw [GETTY] 

    "(Teixeira) has some small problems with journalists but so does Mr Blatter and FIFA is still there. I just want to make it clear, I haven't had an argument with Teixeira. I respect him."

    Earlier this year Pele said Brazil risked "embarrassment" after delays in building stadiums, particularly the Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo, and problems with improving the country's rickety transport system.

    While still concerned, Pele sounded more upbeat on Tuesday.

    "We were a little worried because as you know we worked hard for two years to get the vote for the World Cup then we had political problems, especially in Sao Paulo," he said.

    "Until now Sao Paulo was a problem, whether we would have a game there, the final. We were worried about it because Sao Paulo is the capital of football in Brazil.

    "But last week the president called me and we are working to get everything together."

    Organisers say Sao Paulo will stage the tournament's opening match but work to enlarge the Corinthians stadium to the 60,000-capacity required by FIFA has been besieged with problems.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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