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Football | Brazil

Neymar © Reuters Images

Scolari delighted to have Neymar



Luiz Felipe Scolari is delighted to finally get a chance to work with Brazilian star player Neymar now that he is in charge of the national team again.

Scolari said in an interview with the website of the ruling body Fifa, published on Monday, that he would have loved to have Santos' Neymar on the team during his tenure at Palmeiras.

"Of course, how I'd have loved to have him at Palmeiras when I was there! So, it's great that he's with us now rather than on the opposite side," Scolari said.

The coach, who guided Brazil to a fifth and so far last World Cup title in 2002 and returned last week, said that Neymar's young age of 20 doesn't make him concerned ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup which Brazil both hosts.

"Ronaldo used to be one of the leading figures in A Selecao, and he shone for Brazil when he was only 19 or 20. Pele too was only 17, and though he wasn't a big name at the time he became one during that World Cup (in 1958).

"At the end of the day, it's not a problem. Of course you need to have a lot of character and be very level-headed ... I don't see anything wrong with the fact that a 20- or 21-year-old player is our biggest star," Scolari said.

Scolari acknowledged that the pressure on the record world champions is even bigger than usual because Brazil hosts the World Cup.

"The difference is that the country hosting an event is always given a bit harder time, as if they inevitably have the best team and the best players - whatever their position is in the rankings or the titles they've won.

"So, there's a bit more of an obligation for them (hosts) to win, particularly when it comes to a World Cup. Now, I think that the world's leading sides, including Brazil, are always seen as the teams to beat, wherever they play. It's an obligation, a duty, yes, but it's one that in my view is normal or routine," he said.

Scolari said that the next Confederations Cup grows in importance because it is their only major competitive event - being automatically qualified for the World Cup as hosts.

"It's very important because it's where we'll get our competitive games, when we can decide on one, two or three of the players that we'll later take to the World Cup or not," he said.

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