New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Former Brazil captain and 2002 World Cup winning defender Lucio believes current Selecao coach Dunga has the ability to take the five-time World Champions out of a prolonged form crisis and guide them to greater heights.
The Brazilian football team is undergoing one of its worst phases following their semi-final thrashing by eventual champions Germany at the 2014 World Cup. They followed it up by losing the 2015 Copa America quarterfinal to Paraguay and failing to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup for the first time in almost 20 years.
“Brazil can come out of the depths. They have very good players. They just have to work hard and believe in themselves. I played under current coach Dunga when I was captain. He is a good person and has the skills and ability to take Brazil to the next level. He also has a very good tactical side to himself,” Lucio, the marquee player of Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa, told IANS in an interview here.
Dunga was coach of Brazil from 2006 to 2010 and the reins were handed over to him for the second time after their embarrassing exit from the World Cup at home.
Lucio felt the team has it in them to bring back the old glory of being the most successful footballing nation in the world.
“When a team is not winning, their confidence level goes down. Brazil is not playing well right now because their level of confidence is really, really low,” the 37-year-old adidas athlete said.
“The 2014 World Cup was a complete disaster for Brazil because they lost not just to Germany but also to the Netherlands following which the morale of the team completely came down.”
Shifting focus from teams to individuals, the 2005 and 2009 Confederations Cup winner said that for him, Argentine ace Lionel Messi is currently the undisputed best player in the world.
“For me Messi is the best player in the world, but now Neymar has also started to show the talent which can make him one of the best,” said the centre back.
Lucio said Messi enjoys an advantage over his great goal-scoring rival Cristiano Ronaldo since he has spent all his professional career with Spanish club FC Barcelona and enjoys unflinching support from his teammates.
“Ronaldo is also a very good player but he does not have the support which Messi enjoys at FC Barcelona. Messi is in a different league, for a very long time. He knows his teammates very well,” said Lucio, who has been capped 105 times for Brazil.
The Brazilian, who has played for top European clubs like Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, is now getting a taste of Indian football, playing for FC Goa in the second edition of the ISL.
“The ISL is a very good tournament because it is very organised. The players have a lot of calibre and it is an interesting format. There are a few players like Mandar Desai, Bikramjit Singh and Pronay Halder who have the talent and potential to go up, but the game in India requires to develop to a much better level,” said the former Champions League winner.
“The I-League and ISL should merge and make the league more interesting. More needs to be done to develop the game in India because three months is a very short period to develop the game; it should be longer.”
At Goa, the defender is being coached by legendary Brazilian Zico.
“Zico is a legend in Brazil and it is a very good feeling to train under him and gain from his experience,” signed off Lucio.