‘Neymar must do more than attack’ | The Daily Star
12:17 PM, October 31, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:28 PM, October 31, 2015

Barcelona, Brazil star Neymar must focus on more than attacking: Pele

-Neymar does not track back, organise and is not involved in the build-up, said Pele

-The Barca player has "deficits" in his defensive work

-Pele said he thinks Lionel Messi is the best player in the world

-Pele compared his style of play to that of Diego Maradona

-Cristiano Ronaldo "at one time" was the best and compared his style to that of the Brazilian Ronaldo

 

Barcelona star Neymar must focus on more than just the attacking aspects of football if he is to be considered among the greats, says Brazilian legend Pele.

In an interview to commemorate his 75th birthday, the three-time World Cup winner and Santos legend said the current Brazil captain only dedicates himself to the attack, and because of his narrow focus can not be mentioned among the game's best.

"Neymar is a forward, he plays up front. It is a specific role. He does not track back, he does not organise, he is not involved in the build-up," Pele told Placar magazine.

Pele insisted that Vasconcelos, who Pele replaced at Santos in the '50s, "was 10 times better than Neymar, without a doubt."

Neymar has "deficits" in his defensive work and organization, Pele said, although he admitted that the Barcelona forward is the only "figure" that the Brazil national team has right now.

Pele singled out greats like Garrincha, Falcao, Zico, Rivellino, Romário, George Best, Johan Cruyff, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer, on his list of all-time great players.

Pele said he thinks Lionel Messi is the best player in the world and compared his style of play to that of Diego Maradona, although he was also critical of the Barcelona star's game.

"I have always said that Messi in the past 10 years has been superior. But for example, his heading isn't good. He uses his left more and he isn't ambidextrous. But today he's the best," Pele said.

He said Cristiano Ronaldo "at one time" was the best and compared his style to that of the Brazilian Ronaldo, although he said that the former Barcelona and AC Milan forward was faster than Real Madrid's striker.

Regarding the state of Brazil's national team, Pele admitted this was a "difficult phase" and that the team needs "some good recycling" to form a group that trust each other.

In addition, Pele believes the widening disconnect between Brazilians and the national team comes down to the players being unknowns to their countrymen. 

"Now, this thing of leaving [Brazil] earlier, it's the situation of our country, you know? Because the clubs can't compete with the Europeans," Pele said. "We have players that leave without anyone knowing them here and then you see them playing in Ukraine."

Pele said that while he is an idol outside of Brazil, those of his own country show him a "different love."

"In Brazil, because I am Brazilian, sometimes people don't understand that I am a normal person. I am a man, I like people, I have failings, I have my preferences. Sometimes people have trouble accepting that," he said. "Sometimes I want to give advice, or say something that I think would be taken well and it is misinterpreted."

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