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Pele names Jesus, Neymar to lead Brazil in 2018 World Cup but insists teamwork still key to victory


Brazil have been riding high on their marvelous march towards qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

At present, Selecao are on top of the South American qualifiers.

After 14 matches, they are toting 33 points, nine better than second-running Colombia.

In addition, they are on an imperious eight-match winning streak and looking every inch to gain safe passage for the world’s biggest stage in football.

Brazil are out to bring home the crown in the coming World Cup, even if we say, come hell or high water.

What they got in the last staging, back on home soil in 2014, were frustrations.

They wound up fourth, not a spot where they countryman wanted them to be.

But in Russia, they vowed to come back even though another long, winding road lies ahead even if they hurdle the qualifiers with flying colors.

So who will be leading Selecao to glory in their next massive adventure?

According to Brazilian football legend, it will be Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, and of course, Barcelona’s Neymar.

But the three-time World Cup winner warned the rest of the squad that they cannot rely on the two superstars alone.

The 20-year-old Jesus joined City last January and made impression on short notice despite spending weeks on the sidelines with a broken foot.

Pele said: “He’s a good player too. The same as Neymar, (but) he’s just started. I think Neymar has a little more experience than him, but both have the same style of game.’’

Both forwards will give Brazil success in the future, Pele predicted but emphasized team effort will do it for Brazil.

It requires teamwork to win a World Cup, Pele said not just one or two players.

Brazil coach Tite has in his behest not just Neymar and Jesus, but other seasoned players all capable of making a difference.

Other star players adding power to Selecao are midfielders Willian of Chelsea, Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool, Fernandinho of Manchester City and Paulinho of Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande, as well as defenders David Luiz of Chelsea, Thiago Silva Paris saint Germain and Alex Sandro of Juventus. Manning the post mainly will be Diego Alves of Valencia.

Brazil’s next qualifying match pit them against Ecuador on September 1 at Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.

It will be six months out since their last victory in the competition, a 3-0 swamping of Paraguay, but judging from their form, there is no way can the samba boys can be stopped from claiming another full three points.