Neymar and Gabriel Jesus will improve Brazil’s chances but it takes an entire team to win the World Cup, according to Pele.
Barcelona superstar Neymar and promising young Manchester City forward Jesus will be expected to lead the line for the Selecao in Russia next year, as they seek to make up for the disappointment of a humiliating 7-1 loss to eventual winners Germany in the semi-finals on home soil in 2014.
Pele, one of football’s most iconic players, knows exactly what it takes to win the World Cup, having starred in winning teams in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Asked if the presence of Neymar could make the difference, he said: “Listen, this is very difficult to say because today people mention one or two good players, but who won the game and [the] World Cup is the team.
“Individually it is difficult to say people [did it]. Sometimes one team have a better one [player]. For example, Barcelona have Lionel Messi, one player, but they have a lot of good players.
“To win the World Cup, or to win the game it has to be a nice team not just one player.
“…Of course, always we [Brazil] expect to win [the World Cup]. I think Brazil has good new players and the team has more experience because most of the players that play for the national team play outside [of Brazil]. This is important.
“What we need now is to get a nice team and let them play. I think it will be an excellent World Cup and I wish Brazil make the final.”
Like Pele, Neymar is a former Santos fan favourite. And Pele believes his successor has thrived upon moving to LaLiga in 2013.
“He improved a lot in Europe when he went to Barcelona,” Pele said.
“And I think he has a chance to be one of the great players at the next World Cup in Russia… I think he will be one of the great players in the future.”
Of Jesus, who impressed upon his arrival at City last season, Pele added: “He’s a good player too. The same as Neymar, [but] he’s just started.
“I think Neymar has a little more experience than him, but both have the same style of game.
“But they are both two forwards that will give Brazil success in the future.”