Rio de Janeiro: Brazil are barking up the wrong tree with the progressive "Europeanization" of their style, former Japanese-Brazilian footballer Sergio Echigo said Friday.
"The way they are at the moment, they are taking a leaf out of the European book -- there's not enough space," complained Echigo, a Brazil-born ethnic Japanese who played for Corinthians in the 1960s before playing in Japan in the early 1970s. (Also read: Van Gaal Gunning for Brazil)
Echigo is best known in Brazilian football as the inventor of the 'elastico' feint in the 1960s, later adopted by World Cup star Rivelino. (Also read: Brazil Playing for Pride)
"There's been a general leveling off of the game and there's a shortage of top stars -- Brazil just have Neymar; Argentina just Messi," Echigo said.
"This isn't just a Brazilian problem -- it's everywhere. They should all go back to developing skills on a small pitch.
"A youngster playing on a fullsize pitch has one instinct and that is to shoot at goal. He doesn't develop his skills in a confined space," the 68-year-old fretted.
In the mid 1960s, Sao Paulo-born Echigo was a squad player at Corinthians and as such a team mate of Brazil star Roberto Rivellino.
Echigo was renowned for superb dribbling skills and taught Rivellino his "elastico" technique for feinting one way but suddenly going the other.
"Rivelino actually introduced it (into matches) -- but he picked it up from me."
In a recent interview to Football Qatar, Rivelino admitted he did not invent the move.
"I learned it in 1964 from a Japanese-Brazilian player with the name Sergio Echigo, who played with me at Corinthians.
"It is my trademark, but I learned it from Echigo."