‘Have no intention to be FIFA prez’
“No, I don’t have any intention to be president of FIFA,” Pele, the only footballer to have won three World Cups, said in his first news conference during his one-week sojourn in India. FIFA has plunged into crisis following allegations of widespread corruption since this <g data-gr-id="45">summer,</g> when the US Department of Justice indicted several top executives. As a result, Blatter and Platini were suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee.
On to the game outside FIFA’s boardroom, Pele termed Argentine forward Lionel Messi as the “best in last 10 years”, but also spoke highly of fellow Brazilian Neymar and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It’s very difficult to make a comparison of players of different generations. But in last 10 years Messi was the best. Ronaldo plays forward and tries to score while Messi plays with a different style. In my <g data-gr-id="50">team</g> I would love to have both... We have Neymar who also has good future,” the only footballer to have won three World Cups said in his first news conference during his one-week sojourn in India.
The 74-year-old agreed that the sport has become highly competitive, but Pele said he would have been successful had he played in this generation.
“No doubt football on Monday is <g data-gr-id="57">more tough</g> than before but when God gifts you to play football it’s the same in any generation. Football is all about skill. I’m sure Beto would have been equally successful had he played in this era.” Refusing to answer queries on FIFA, which is engulfed in crisis <g data-gr-id="54">post Sepp</g> Blatter controversy, <g data-gr-id="55">Pele however</g> said he has “no intention to contest for the post of president”.
Post-World Cup where they were thrashed 1-7 by Germany, the once heavyweights Brazil may not be the same force to reckon with and Pele blamed it on the team atmosphere.
“We have not lost passion for football. We have the best players for Brazil but unfortunately, we don’t have time to prepare the team,” Pele said.
“Individual players are important but have to have a good team you need to play together well as a team. That’s the big problem.
“Individually we have the best players but as a team we’ve a lot of <g data-gr-id="63">problem</g>. In my <g data-gr-id="61">time</g> the players used to belong to the clubs but on Monday players are managed by their agents.” The legend also offered a solution to bring Indian football out of its current abyss, saying that the game should be made an integral part of growing up for kids here. At a media interaction moderated by former Indian cricket captain and ISL side Atletico de Kolkata’s co-owner Sourav Ganguly, Pele offered his advice to develop the <g data-gr-id="58">sport</g> languishing in the country. Without delving into the nitty-<g data-gr-id="43">gritties</g>, the three-time World Cup winner said, “Most important to grow is to start a base. To get the players who are promising and start working on them.