Thursday 10 May 2018, 12:43

Clodoaldo acclaims Cristiano, Messi and Neymar

  • Clodoaldo showers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in praise

  • He answers whether Neymar would get in Brazil’s 1970 side

  • He believes Brazil, England, France or Argentina will win Russia 2018

Clodoaldo has hailed Lionel Messi, Neymar and particularly Cristiano Ronaldo, and lamented the fact that the latter has nothing more than a “remote” chance of propelling Portugal to 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ glory.

“Of course Brazil are one of the favourites, but I’m one of those who always thinks the World Cup will maintain its tradition,” the man whose eye-popping dribble aided Carlos Alberto’s wonder goal in the Mexico 1970 Final told GloboEsporte. “I think it’s unlikely we’ll see surprises at the World Cup. [An underdog] could have a good campaign, but they won’t win it.

“I think it’s between Brazil, England, France and Argentina, if suddenly Messi has an outstanding World Cup. I don’t think it will be far off this.

“It’s a pity that it’s perhaps Messi’s last World Cup. I even think he deserves to have won the Trophy for everything he’s done in football. But I hope it’s not in Russia.

“Cristiano is fantastic. Spectacular. A wonderful human being. The story we hear about Cristiano Ronaldo... we root a lot for him.

“Unfortunately he plays for a national team that doesn’t have a strong tradition in the World Cup, and the chances of him winning a World Cup are remote, in contrast to hallowed players like Maradona, Pele and others."

Neymar in the class of ’70? Asked if Neymar would get in ‘The Beautiful Team’ of Mexico 1970, Clodoaldo responded: “It’s difficult to say no. To omit Neymar from an all-time Seleção [XI], I think it’s difficult.

“I don’t want to sit on the fence, but I couldn’t take anyone out of the ’70 team. An attack with Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson, Pele and Rivelino, for the love of God, right!?

“Neymar would be the 12th man, then. Done! Let’s be nice. He’d come on in the second half and win the game (laughs).”

Brazil play Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E. Clodoaldo believes they’re in with a great chance of stitching an extra star on their canary-yellow jersey.

“I’m very confident,” said the 68-year-old. “The Brazilian national team has regained something very important: the credibility and confidence of the Brazilian supporters and the press.

“The moment Tite took over and started to record victories, with the fan watching the serious work that was being carried out, the supporters regained this passion for our Seleção.

"Brazil are prepared to conquer the World Cup. Whether they do or don’t is another matter. We’re on the right track. And the confidence is very high.”

Clodoaldo, then just 20, scored the equaliser against Uruguay in the Mexico 1970 semi-finals with what proved to be the only goal of his international career.

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