It has been over two decades since Bebeto made headlines with his rocking-baby celebration at the 1994 World Cup, but he has not lost his magic, not least among football enthusiasts.
At the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday, the Brazil legend was the centre of attention as he and other former players Juninho Paulista, Cesar Sampaio and Claudio Taffarel tipped Neymar and company to rediscover their samba roots and end their 20-year World Cup drought in Qatar 2022.
Juninho, who was in the last triumphant Brazil team in 2002, told The Straits Times: "Yes I think (we can win) with the talents that we have, the coaches that we have."
His belief is built on the strong base of players that he is helping to develop as head of technical development at the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and as national team coordinator.
"We have been working on our base. We have a lot of players, from midfielders to forwards and a lot of options… a base of 50 to 60 players," said the midfielder, 46, a household name in the early 2000s who starred for Middlesbrough in the English Premier League.
"It's not only about quick results and we need a base first. We start work now and our vision will be fulfilled in three years' time."
Sampaio, who was in the team that won the Copa America and Confederations Cup in 1997, strongly believes Brazil need to rediscover their ginga brand of football - fast-flowing attacking with a swagger - a feature of their record five World Cup wins.
BRAZIL GLOBAL TOUR 2019
TOMORROW Brazil v Senegal
SUNDAY Brazil v Nigeria
VENUE/TIME National Stadium, 8pm
$29-$299 per game or $49-$449 for both games. From www.sportshubtix.sg, Singapore Indoor Stadium box office, all SingPost outlets, The Star Performing Arts Centre box office and Scotts Square concierge desk or call 3158-7888
"After 2002, Brazil are not winning anymore because we are training like other countries," lamented the 51-year-old. "We are following the tactics and models of Spain, Germany, France. Right now, Tite (Brazil coach) is trying to bring the real model of football.
"Right now, many players from 18 years old are going to Europe to play, unlike this (older) generation who went later and understand the Brazil way of playing."
While Tite has been criticised for his conservative tactics, Sampaio is banking on the coach to lead the Selecao, crowned Copa America champions in July, to success in Qatar.
He added: "We have very good players, a new system that won the Copa, and now in the friendlies (against Senegal and Nigeria), Tite brought good younger players to have more options for the best XI.
"Brazil are in a good moment and I am confident this system can bring the next World Cup."
The quartet are in town for the Brazil Global Tour, which will see the Selecao play Senegal tomorrow before facing Nigeria on Sunday, at the National Stadium.
In a clinic yesterday, they shared Brazil's football philosophy and training tips with about 40 coaches from the Singapore Premier League, National Football League, Island Wide League, Centres of Excellence and ActiveSG academy.
Highlighting the different stages of youth development, CBF analyst Sampaio said that the focus for children aged six to nine was on enjoying the game and playing together, with individual play introduced between seven and 11.
REDISCOVERING THE BRAZILIAN TOUCH
After 2002, Brazil are not winning anymore because we are training like other countries. We are following the tactics and models of Spain, Germany, France. Right now, Tite (Brazil coach) is trying to bring the real model of football.
CESAR SAMPAIO, Brazilian Football Confederation analyst, on why Brazil have not been successful at the World Cup since 2002.
KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES
We are now organised from the back, but in the past, we didn't work on this. But the feeling is always going forward, to improvise and inject creativity.
JUNINHO PAULISTA, Brazil national team coordinator, on the updating of Brazil's playing style.
Tactical play, defence and attack are only taught to children aged 12 and above, with players trained for positions from 13. But the process had to be "accelerated as many 18-year-olds go to Europe", which Sampaio said was detrimental to a player's development.
While Bebeto, 55, said the love and joy for the game remains key for young players, Juninho acknowledged that they also need to keep up with the times and play modern football, instead of relying on "jogo bonito" (the beautiful game).
He said: "We are now organised from the back, but in the past, we didn't work on this. But the feeling is always going forward, to improvise and inject creativity. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho use their creativity to score goals.
"Football has changed, and now you can't only think about how to play the ball when you have it, but what to do without it."