Kolkata: Observing that hard work was the only avenue to become a world class footballer, Brazilian legend Carlos Alberto Torres Monday urged budding Indian players to toil tirelessly.
Giving examples of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and talismanic Brazilian player Neymar, Torres said they have made a mark in world football through sheer hard work.
“Messi, when he was 12 or 13, moved out of Argentina to play football. He practised, practised and practised and now today he is a world class player. Similarly Neymar, who knew him when he was just 12?" Torres recalled.
"But he too practised and practised and worked hard and the whole world knows him. Practice is the key, hard work is the key,” said Torres during an event here.
Torres, who managed several clubs besides the Azerbaijan national team, also had one suggestion for the budding footballers- “Go to bed with your football, sleep with the ball”.
Torres, who led Brazil to the World Cup crown in 1970, attributed his success to sincere labour.
“When I was 15, I had to convince my father to let me play for Fluminense (Brazilian club) but he said no. But I worked hard, and two years later I was in the national team. Why - because I could convince that I wanted to be a football player, I convinced people with my hard work,” he said.
With India hosting the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, the Brazilian called for taking up the game at an early age besides suggesting that the country adopt the Brazilian model of football.
“While people now are talking of Neymar, in Brazil we have thousands of good players, why because we start early, children take up the game at 10-11,” he said, adding young players and coaches from his country should be invited to India on a regular basis for exchange of notes and help football grow.
Seconding Torres’ view, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said Brazilian model of football was being considered for training young talents in view of the Under-17 World Cup.