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Rediff.com  » Sports » Pele plays down feud with Teixeira, urges World Cup unity

Pele plays down feud with Teixeira, urges World Cup unity

August 03, 2011 09:15 IST

Brazil great Pele played down his feud with Brazilian FA chief Ricardo Teixeira on Tuesday, saying the most important thing was that his country stage a memorable World Cup in 2014.

Speaking at the announcement of an opus for his former club New York Cosmos in London, the 70-year-old also said he was confident Brazil's preparations to stage the tournament were on track despite some "scares" regarding stadiums and transport.

PelePele, arguably the best player ever, was initially snubbed by Teixeira for the draw for the preliminary rounds of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

However, Pele did play a role after being appointed his country's international World Cup ambassador by Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.

"Everybody has enemies, even when you don't know," Pele told reporters in the Dorchester Hotel. "The most important thing is that we have an excellent World Cup in Brazil. This doesn't affect the football, we are just going to work hard.

"(Teixeira) has some small problems with journalists but so does Mr Blatter and FIFA is still there. I just want to make it clear, I haven't had an argument with Teixeira. I respect him."

Earlier this year Pele said Brazil risked "embarrassment" after delays in building stadiums, particularly the Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo which is planned to host the opening match, and improving the country's rickety transport system.

While still concerned, Pele sounded more upbeat on Tuesday.

"We were a little worried because as you know we worked hard for two years to get the vote for the World Cup then we had political problems, especially in Sao Paulo," he said.

"Until now Sao Paulo was a problem, whether we would have a game there, the final. We were worried about it because Sao Paulo is the capital of football in Brazil.

"But last week the president called me and we are working to get everything together."

Organisers say Sao Paulo will stage the tournament's opening match but work to enlarge the Corinthians stadium to the 60,000-capacity required by FIFA has been hit by problems.

Source:
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