Go to sleep with football, Carlos Torres tells youngsters

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 23, 2013, 17:54 PM IST

Kolkata: It`s not only play football, but also sleep football, literally, is what Brazilian World Cup winning captain Carlos Alberto Torres` mantra to the Indian youngsters who want to make it big in the sport.

"Everybody knows how to dribble but to touch the ball fast and pass it long or short is a problem. That`s why I insist on practice, practice and practice. "Go to sleep with the ball. Take the ball to the bed and use it as a pillow. This is very important to realise your dreams. You have to keep repeating: `I want to be a football player`," Torres said.

The 69-year-old legendary defender cited the examples of Lionel Messi and Neymar and said there was no short cut to practice. "I got to tell you one thing. This guy Messi -- he was 12 or 13 or 14 years old when he left Argentina and went to Spain to live his dream. At that young age, he started to practice, practice and just practice. Today, he`s one of the best players in the world.

"There`s Neymar. I know him personally. His father was my friend. When he was 10 or 11, nobody knew about him in Brazil. Then we took him to Santos, then he started to practice, practice and practice. Today, he`s also among the best players in the world," the legendary Brazilian defender said.

Torres remembered how he went against his father`s wish and strived to become a footballer at a young age of 15. "I started playing football with my friends when I was 15. My parents were against the idea to see me as a footballer. They would say `there`s no money`. I convinced my father to let me play football.

"In two years time, I was in the Brazil national team. Why? Because I was able to convince them that I wanted to become a footballer," he recalled.

"Some might say we here don`t play the sport as much as you do. But hey don`t think like this. I lived football for 50 years. I played for 22 years and then I was a coach of Nigeria, Oman, Azerbaijan national teams. One day I decided not to coach anymore and instead stay in Brazil and work for the federation," Torres added.