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Sleep with the ball, Carlos Alberto Torres tells budding footballers

One of the best right-backs of all-time, the 69-year-old Brazilian was ecstatic as ever when he had the opportunity to carry the World Cup again. “We had Pele in our side who had been there in three World Cup-winning sides. There were Tostao, Rivelino, Clodoaldo and all my teammates. But I had the honour of touching the trophy first. And believe me, the experience can never be forgotten,” he said yesterday.


Carlos Alberto Torres (right) poses with the four lucky kids who will go to Brazil for a football training stint

Torres, along with Pele, had toured Kolkata in 1977 with US club Cosmos to play in an exhibition match against local giants Mohun Bagan. He even scored the first goal in that 2-1 win.

On being quizzed by former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, he said he had no doubt to declare that Pele was, and is, the best footballer.

“I have played with and against him. He was like my younger brother. We meet often in various places in the world. Being Pele’s teammate for so long and watching Pele from the closest quarter possible for so many years, I have to say that Pele was the best footballer you could have seen on a football ground. He was God. And yes, Diego was the best after Pele,” he said.

The coveted World Cup trophy is in Kolkata as a part of the FIFA World Cup Trophy tour by the official sponsor Coca-Cola. The original trophy will tour no fewer than 88 countries.

Brazil-bound young guns
Meanwhile, with an eye on the Under 17 World Cup which India will host in 2017, the All India Football Federation has decided to send five promising young footballers -- Amit Tudu, Subrata Das, Prasenjit Chakraborty, Jitendra Singh and Avijit Sarkar — to Brazil next year for a two-week camp. All five players are products of the AIFF Academy and will train under Carlos Alberto as well as qualified Brazil coaches.

Talking on how to develop young talent, the Brazillian advised: “Go to sleep with the football, using it as a pillow. It will help you to get more attached with the ball. You need to be friends with it, otherwise, it will not act friendly with you either. Pratice, more practice and more and more practice are the only way to develop your skills. Modern football is changing so fast, to keep pace you need to work really hard daily. There is no place for thinking that you know everything. Even at 69, I feel I’m learning everyday.” 

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