Current crop 'must win World Cup to be legends'

Marquinhos speaking at the Brazil Global Tour press conference at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach on Oct 7, 2019.
Marquinhos speaking at the Brazil Global Tour press conference at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach on Oct 7, 2019.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Even with attacking superstar Neymar, two outstanding goalkeepers Ederson and Alisson battling for the No. 1 jersey, and experience in defence, the current Brazil national team are nowhere near the standards of their legendary predecessors.

The frank assessment did not come from external critics, but from a very candid Marquinhos at the Brazil Global Tour press conference at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach yesterday.

Here with the Selecao for international friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria at the National Stadium on Thursday and Sunday respectively, the 25-year-old defender said: "Our generation is very good, very high quality. But I believe we are not the best because we have not won the World Cup.

"We have had magical generations that did not win a World Cup and those that were not as good that won, and they are recognised in history.

"So, for me, we will be among the legends and be recognised as one of the best teams in history only when we win a World Cup."

The Paris Saint-Germain man also acknowledged Europe's dominance in the quadrennial extravaganza as they boast the last four world champions as well as seven out of the last eight World Cup finalists.

He said: "Many teams are playing defensive, European-style football now. They are more closed between the lines. So, it's different from the football that was played in the past, which was more attacking.

"We have to adapt and match the Europeans but we also want to retain our South American essence."

GETTING THERE

Our generation is very good, very high quality. But I believe we are not the best because we have not won the World Cup.

MARQUINHOS, Brazil's defensive stalwart.

While Marquinhos did not address what was lacking in his national team, many observers believe the emergence of Barcelona's Arthur will plug the No. 8 gap in central midfield.

Brazil, who are also the last South American team to win the World Cup in 2002 when it was co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, are also hoping that Asia will bring them luck with the next edition to be held in Qatar in 2022.

"The road to Qatar 2022 is still long," said Marquinhos. "I went there many times with PSG and I think it will be one of the best World Cups. Brazil won the World Cup the first and last time it was hosted by Asia, and I hope it will be the same this time too.

"We already have a base and an identity. We have a team playing together for a long time. We have to work and do our best.

"Our coach Tite demands that we perform, do good work, and exercise ideas on the pitch. We have a good competitive environment among us, and we want to win."

David Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2019, with the headline 'Current crop 'must win World Cup to be legends''. Print Edition | Subscribe