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Jun 11, 2014

Ronaldo tips Brazil for World Cup

Brazil legend Ronaldo is sure that Neymar can deal with the pressure of playing for the Selecao at the World Cup.

Two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo has said he believes Brazil would be favourites to win a sixth World Cup even if they were not hosting the tournament.

- Injury scare for Brazil star Neymar
Brazil's World Cup predictions

However, the competition's all-time leading goalscorer said four other nations would run the hosts close.

He named Argentina, Spain, Germany and Italy as all having a chance of lifting the trophy, but told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Brazil are the strongest side, and they would be even if they weren't playing at home.

"They have tons of pressure on them, but have you ever seen a Selecao without that? And didn't [coach Luiz Felipe] Scolari say that they are obliged to win?"

And with a player like Barcelona star Neymar -- who has said he is ready to shine in the tournament -- leading the attack, Ronaldo has good reason to back his home country.

"Considering it was only his first year in Europe, and when you consider he was playing with somebody who can upstage you like Lionel Messi, I think he did pretty well," he said.

"He's only 22 and he's got plenty of time to improve, but his best games have always been for Brazil, so that's good for Scolari."

But he said nobody should write off defending champions Spain, who have the bulk of their 2010 tournament winners in the 2014 squad.

"I believe more in the compactness of such a group of players than in any possible dip in motivation," he said. "Then come Germany, but watch out for Italy too -- they are nearly always thereabouts. It's true they have one of if not the most difficult group, but I think they can win it."

Ronaldo sounded a warning to Italy striker Mario Balotelli, saying: "If he doesn't realise that this World Cup is his biggest chance, then it means he's not realised anything yet about his career.

"Brazil's looking forward to seeing him, because we love special players -- and now it's up to him. Maybe [Antonio] Cassano can give him a hand.

"To be honest, I didn't expect Cassano to be called up, but it's good for the spectacle. When he wants, he can be entertainment in its purest form."

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