FIFA World Cup: Pele Worried About Great Expectations for Neymar

Updated: 11 June 2014 19:34 IST

Brazilian striker Neymar, who recently made a big-money switch from Santos to Barcelona, is expected to be one of the top performers of the upcoming mega event.

FIFA World Cup: Pele Worried About Great Expectations for Neymar

Neymar in practice ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2014

Neymar in practice ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2014 © AFP

Brazil star Neymar is under too much pressure to deliver the hosts with a sixth World Cup trophy, football legend Pele told the BBC. (FIFA World Cup: Tournament favourites Brazil Eager to Make Mark in Opener)

The 22-year-old Barcelona striker -- who has scored seven goals in Brazil's nine successive friendly wins leading into the finals -- is too young to be loaded with such expectations said Pele ahead of the hosts opening game with Croatia in Sao Paulo on Thursday. (FIFA World Cup to be most tweeted global event)

Pele's comments came despite his impressive performances for Brazil at last year's Confederations Cup -- the mini dress rehearsal for the World Cup -- which saw them overwhelm present World Cup holders Spain 3-0 in the final with Neymar scoring a spectacular goal. (Carnival or Chaos? FIFA World Cup ready to kick-off)

"Neymar is young," three-time World Cup winner Pele told the BBC.

"It is a heavy pressure for him to get all the responsibility." (Spain Showdown Worries Brazil)

Pele, 73 and Brazil's record goalscorer with 77 goals, said coach Luiz Felipe Scolari -- who coached Brazil to the last of their five World Cup trophies in 2002 -- had succeeded in turning the team into an outstanding defensive unit, which has often been the weakness in the national side.

They have scored 30 goals and conceded just two in their nine consecutive victories since losing to fellow World Cup finalists Switzerland last August.

"For the first time in history, Brazil has a defence better than they attack," said Pele.

"The midfield back is fantastic. Very organised. I hope we can adjust from the midfield forward."

Topics : Football FIFA World Cup 2014
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