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Do you think Alisson is the best goalkeeper in the world? I think to be and to be at that moment are two different things. Is he in the best three in the world? I have absolutely no doubt, 100-per-cent conviction. To say he’s the best I’d have to really look closely at all the goalkeepers to compare. But I think over the last year he was the best. Was he better than Neuer? Yes. Better than Ter Stegen? Yes. Better than Oblak? Yes. Aside from Brazil, who do you think is the best side in the world right now? It’s difficult to say. After the pandemic, there hasn’t been much opportunity for teams to show what they can do. Brazil, Argentina, Colombia have had very little chances. The Europeans have played eight times, four more than us. Italy have come back playing, for me, football that’s much more beautiful to watch. Mancini has done a great job. He’s installed a school of football like Arrigo Sacchi. I think they have a greater balance between defensive play – characteristically, historically what they’re renowned for – and offensive play. Belgium still have this great generation. They’re a great team, have great individual talent, and one of the most talented players in the world in De Bruyne. France are very strong too. Who do you think are the best three players in the world today? I would say the three I voted for [The Best FIFA Men’s Player].
Neymar first, Lewandowski second, De Bruyne third. Before he got injured Neymar was, even by his own standards, in fantastic form. Lewandowski is an incredible striker. De Bruyne is capable of doing things that others can’t. His improvisation, his determination. I love watching him play. Can you explain your decision at the end of 2013 to take a break from coaching for a year, travel the world and study football? I’ve always studied football and wanted to expand my knowledge, my ideas. When I left Corinthians, it was the perfect opportunity to study other coaches and teams to a greater degree, first-hand. I’d won everything I could at club level – the Campeonato Brasileiro, the Libertadores, the Club World Cup, where we beat Chelsea. I thought the next step was the Seleção and I wanted to improve myself as a coach as best as I could. I read books on Simeone, Guardiola. I studied what Bianchi achieved at Boca Juniors and Cruyff achieved at Barcelona. Football is different all over the world, each place has different things you can learn. I went to meet up with Bianchi and hear his ideas, which were very insightful. I spent time at Arsenal. I spent time with Ancelotti at Real Madrid. I studied Manchester City, the English champions, Bayern Munich, the German champions. I sought to learn everything – the stuff behind the scenes, the training, the tactics and what happens on the pitch. Everything. I watched all the matches at the 2014 World Cup, took notes, broke them down. That period was very important for my career. Which coach have you learned the most from? Ancelotti. The way Simeone organises his teams is remarkable. Guardiola, his offensive tactics, ability to break teams down is really impressive. Bianchi has an incredible ability to get the best out of his players in big finals. Some of Cruyff’s tactical ideas were fantastic. But I without doubt learned the most from Ancelotti. He sees the game in a different and unique way.
While he’s famous for tricks on the pitch, PSG winger Neymar is also pretty serious in the virtual world too – as his FIFA Ultimate Team shows. A fan came up against his team and was in awe of the Brazilian’s squad. Neymar Jr is largely seen as the successor to the footballing throne, a crown currently shared by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He learned his trade in Brazil at Santos, before coming over to conquer Europe, first with Barcelona and currently PSG, winning a domestic league title in every season he’s participated in since 2014. Despite his glistening career on the pitch, a FIFA 21 Ultimate Team player soon found out that he’s just as competitive when it concerns gaming. The 29-year-old’s Ultimate Team has to be one of the best in the game. It features the colossal Danish legend Peter Schmeichel between the sticks, with a solid centre-back pairing of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Paolo Maldini. The anchor in midfield is the ever-reliable Ruud Gullit. Unsurprisingly, Neymar’s team is full of Brazilian flair. At full-back he has the marauding pair of Carlos Alberto and Roberto Carlos, but it’s at the top end of the pitch where the team looks deadly.
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