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Jose Mourinho responds to Neymar being named the best Brazilian footballer since Pele

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Football is definitely worse off without Neymar mesmerising defenders on a weekly basis.

The Brazilian has been nursing a broken foot since Paris Saint-Germain knocked Strasbourg out of the French Cup in January.

The injury is virtually identical to that which almost ruled him out of the 2018 World Cup, though it is hoped he will be available to face Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League tie on March 6.

PSG scored two unanswered goals at Old Trafford in midweek, meaning they could probably seal their progression to the final eight even if Neymar fails to recover in time.

That said, his contribution to Thomas Tuchel’s side this season has been remarkable.

Despite playing only 13 of 22 Ligue 1 fixtures to date, Neymar has been involved in just five goals less than Kylian Mbappe, scoring 13 and creating six others.

He’s found the net in the Europe more than any of his teammates, too, with five from goals from as many appearances.

While Neymar is sure to be a crucial factor in PSG’s bid to secure their first European crown, would doing so make him one of the best in history?

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Well, after Brazilian football magazine, Placar, named him the greatest Brazilian player since Pele, there has been no shortage of debate over his place in the list of all-time greats.

It’s always difficult to compare players from different generations, but Jose Mourinho has had a crack anyway.

When asked for his take on whether Neymar deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Pele, the 56-year-old gave a thoughtful response.

FBL-FRA-CUP-PARIS-STRASBOURG

“Neymar is a fantastic talent and nobody can doubt that,” Mourinho said, per Goal.

“He came to Europe and won immediately.

“But I think they forgot players that were the best of the world at some point, such as Ronaldo and Rivaldo, just citing two, and I could remember more.

“They also came to Europe and were fantastic, but beyond that, they passed through this special situation in a country's life that is succeeding on the international level.

“Neymar will keep fighting to be on Europe's elite, where he already is, and this [winning with Brazil] will continue to be a dream for him.”

It seems clear enough that Neymar simply has to guide Brazil to their sixth title before hanging up his boots.

If he doesn’t, it’s unlikely he would ever be welcomed as the best the country has produced since Pele - especially at the expense of Ronaldinho, Zico, Rivaldo and Ronaldo.

Will Neymar go down as one of the greatest footballers ever? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Topics:
Football
Jose Mourinho
Brazil Football
Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar

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