Pele: 'Neymar key to Brazil's success at World Cup'

The FIFA World Cup is few months away and the legendary Pele says if Brazil is given time to prepare it is capable of lifting the trophy.

Pele picks Brazil as his favourite to win the 2018 World Cup.   -  AFP

The FIFA World Cup is few months away and the legendary Pele says if Brazil is given time to prepare it is capable of lifting the trophy in Russia.

"You always have to respect Germany and even Russia, who often have a strong team will have the advantage of playing at home. In terms of Latin America, Argentina tend to be the team who have what it takes to go all the way," the 77-year-old was quoted as saying to fifa.com.

He thinks with most of the Brazilian players based abroad, it gets tough for the coaching staff to build a team in a short span of time.

"Brazil always have a team capable of winning the World Cup. However, we’ve come unstuck at recent tournaments because of our preparation time. The majority of Brazil’s players are based abroad. It was very different back in our day. We had a lot more time. It makes life very hard for the coaching staff, as it’s difficult to build a team. But individually speaking, I have no doubt that the best players in the world are Brazilian," Pele said.

Pele goes on to emphasise on sides these days playing team football and Neymar's seamless transition augurs well for Brazil going into the World Cup.

"Neymar has changed the way he plays with the national team. He has had to. At his club side, he was playing as a left-sided attacker, whereas for Brazil, he plays more centrally, as a more traditional No. 10. That’s hard, but he’s managed to adapt his game. The important thing is for the national team to be well organised as a group because they no longer have three or four top players for each position."

For the three-time World Cup-winner, it is Neymar who will be key for Brazil's campaign in Russia.

"He might find that the tactical switch from his club to the national team isn’t straightforward, but Neymar is Brazil’s key player. He has to prepare himself for that. And I would go further: for me, technically, he is already the best player in the world," he said.