FOXBOROUGH — Pelé is expecting a successful event when Brazil hosts the 2014 World Cup. But he stopped short of predicting a sixth World Cup title for his country during a press conference at Gillette Stadium Thursday.
“I think what Brazil needs is a team,” said Pelé said. “We’ve played several games. More or less, we’ve played good and then we’ve played bad. Sometimes you have excellent players but you do not have a team.”
Pelé, who led Brazil to World Cup championships in 1958, ’62, and ’70, was speaking during the announcement of a partnership involving the Revolution and Sovereign/Santander Bank.
Pelé noted how former Brazil coach Joao Saldanha molded a group founded on players from Botafogo, the top team in Rio de Janeiro, and his team, Santos, the Sao Paulo champion, adding Roberto Rivelinho (Corinthians) and Tostao (Cruzeiro) along the way.
“They made a team first, that was the most important thing in 1970,” Pelé said.
Pelé criticized Brazil coach Mano Menezes for being “a little insecure.”
“Today, Brazil has had a team for one year and a half, almost two years, and he doesn’t have a team,” Pelé said. “This should be something they should change going into the World Cup. I think we need to get the right team.
“Brazil has excellent players, no doubt. Excellent players. The best players all over the world, you’ll find Brazilians. But as a team, we are not organized, yet.”
Pelé chose reigning European and World Cup champion Spain as the world’s best.
“Listen, what they’re going to do in the World Cup, we don’t know,” Pelé said of Spain. “Today, they are the best team.
“No doubt they’ll be one of the best teams in Brazil. No doubt. If they don’t have injuries. Today, they are the most organized team in the world.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.