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Jun 10, 2014

Pele hopes Costa isn't lucky vs. Brazil

Defending champions Spain are in search of their fourth consecutive major trophy. Will La Roja become the first European country to win a World Cup in the Americas?

Brazilian legend Pele said he is excited to watch Spain and Germany at the World Cup and that, while he understands Diego Costa's decision to opt for Spain, he hopes the striker is "not lucky against Brazil."

The 73-year-old three-time World Cup winner and World Cup ambassador also told AS that the protests within Brazil do not mean that people do not want the World Cup, but rather that they are protesting against political corruption.

Pele said he was not surprised by Costa's decision to represent Spain.

"It surprises me to the extent that before nobody would have given up the chance of playing for Brazil," he said. "But times have changed. And the main thing is to respect his decision. He needs to be where he feels comfortable and that's with Spain. He had the chance to do it because he's got dual nationality and the only thing I want now is that he's not lucky against Brazil."

When asked who he would like to see at this World Cup, Pele told AS: "Barca."

"You mean Spain?" replied the reporter, Santi Gimenez.

"Of course, but I see the way Spain plays as being similar to the way Barca plays," Pele said. "Barcelona is the team behind Spain. In fact, there should be eight players from Barca in the side. They've set out the style. It's a team that reminds me a lot of my teams."

Xavi also got special mention from the Brazilian legend.

"Yes, he's main man, he's the one we need to talk about," he said. "I'll say it again. I love Xavi. He's excellent. I really like Barca mainly for Xavi, as well as Iniesta and Messi... the side reminds me of my time at Santos with Zito, Coutinho, Pepe..."

Pele also added that Germany are his other top team.

"Germany, above all. They're good. Those are the two teams I want to see," he said.

Pele has already said he hopes Brazil star Neymar can make an impact at this summer's tournament, and he has offered the youngster some advice as he seeks to cope with the nation's expectations.

"I was really lucky, because my father had been a football player and he had it all thought out, and that was the case even though I played a World Cup when I was 17," he said. "He gave me so much support and so it all seemed quite normal to me. Fame can be dangerous, but family is so important. But there is another problem...The media, the social networks. In my era there wasn't that available, and now players are artists, painters, models... they do it all. That's the big difference from my time."

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