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Neymar reminds me of Garrincha: Carlos

- ‘No place for runners-up in Brazil’

Calcutta: Carlos Alberto Torres loves to talk… just about on everything. Brazil’s chances in the 2014 World Cup, Neymar, his good friend Pele... Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning captain, who took home the Jules Rimet Trophy, is in the city with the Coca-Cola’s Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour. The 69-year-old former right-back took time out from his busy schedule for a free-wheeling chat with The Telegraph, which was arranged by the Coca-Cola.


Q Your goal in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy (Brazil won 4-1) is still talked about… A right-back on the overlap was something unheard of those days…

A It was a dream goal, but not a fluke… Our coach (Mario Zagallo) had said about the Italians’ tendency to drift away. Rivelino, Jairzinho and Tostao were doing their bits at the Italian half. The moment Pele got the ball I had a feeling I should make a run. Mind you, those days the full backs were not asked to overlap like they do in modern football. Since I was playing with Pele in Santos, I knew he would do something. He passed it to me and for two seconds I held onto the ball... And finished it with a bang. Forty three years have passed and I still feel as if it happened yesterday.

The 1970 Cup saw Brazil taking home the Jules Rimet Trophy. As a captain that must be the most memorable moment of your career…

Of course… The team was so good. Pele, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Tostao, Clodoaldo, Gerson… They say it’s the best team ever… Holding the Jules Rimet Trophy was like a dream. And I am still living that.

The 1950 World Cup final loss to Uruguay at the Maracana.. Does it still haunt the Brazilians?

Yes… It’s a nightmare which returns every now and then… You know as a kid I never watched the recording of that match… We just didn’t want to see that match. Wish someone had deleted all the records of the 1950 Cup…

Brazil will be hosting the Cup for the first time since 1950… Will the players be under tremendous pressure?

Pressure will be 1000 per cent I would say. In our country, there is no place for the runners-up… Netherlands got a grand welcome after they returned home losing to Spain in 2010 final… Had it been in Brazil, the players would have been greeted with boos… ‘World Cup runners-up… So what? They are no champions’. If Brazil do not win the Cup, it will be a national tragedy…

What went wrong with Brazil in 2010?

It’s just that we ran into a team which was on an ascending curve. The Netherlands were peaking at the right time and we were left clueless. Also skillwise we weren’t good. Brazilian football is all about skill… I do not think we had that in South Africa.

What about Neymar? There is a belief in Brazil that he should have moved to Barcelona after the World Cup. Do you think on the same lines?

He has made the right decision by going to the best club in the world. He has improved a lot as he is playing with the best.

Whom does Neymar remind you of? Pele or Garrincha?

He reminds me of Garrincha. It was fun watching Garrincha and Neymar gives us the same sense of euphoria. He will be the star of the World Cup. Amazing poise and does ridiculous things on the pitch. Just like Garrincha used to do in his heydays.

Diego Costa chose Spain over Brazil… Don’t you think the CBF (Brazilian football federation) should have gone all-out to make sure he turns out for Brazil?

Brazil’s loss is Spain’s gain. Brazil would miss Costa. He is the best striker in the world at this point in time. Only yesterday (Saturday) he scored two goals (for Atletico Madrid vs Levante). I wish he had played for Brazil… Imagine Neymar and Costa as forwards!

Football has changed over the years… Has it become more tactical?

Yes, it has become more tactical and manager dependant. If you speak to a footballer nowadays he will tell you he is doing something that the coach asked him to do. And during our days we had such belief in ourselves that the coach hardly had any role to play.

You are one of the Fifa ambassadors for the 2014 World Cup. Is Brazil ready to host a tournament as big as this?

Yes. We are ready. There are some problems, but we are sorting them out. I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to Brazil. Come to the home of football and I promise we will play the role of hosts to perfection.

Now the most obvious question… Who is the greatest? Pele or Diego Maradona?

Pele without a doubt… He was someone out of this world… Diego Maradona is also very good. But Pele is Pele. I am not saying this because he is my friend. To me the top-five footballers of all time would be Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, Maradona and Lionel Messi. In that order… Let me be very clear.