Kashiwa Reysol know they must stop hot-shot teenaged striker
Neymar if they want to upset Brazil's Santos in Wednesday's Club
World Cup semi-final in Toyota.
"Everywhere in the world people talk about Neymar,"
Kashiwa's Brazilian manager Nelsinho told reporters on Tuesday.
"He is not just making headlines in Brazil. He has
exceptional talent and class, all the tools to become the best
player in the world."
The 19-year-old Neymar, recently described by Pele as the
world's best player, is not the only opponent on Nelsinho's
mind, however, as he dreams of producing a shock win.
"Neymar may be a superstar but Santos have others like [Paulo Henrique] Ganso, Elano - the list goes on and on, all
the amazing attacking players they have," Nelsinho said.
With European kings Barcelona, led by Argentine wizard
Lionel Messi, expected to overpower Qatar's Al Sadd in the other
semi-final on Thursday, a mouth-watering final awaits either
Santos or Reysol in Yokohama at the weekend.
Nelsinho, sacked as coach of Santos in 2005 following a 7-1
hammering by Corinthians, refused to write off his Japanese
"I will block out any personal feelings I have for Santos
and do the best job I can for Reysol," said the 61-year-old. "I
respect their quality but we will go out there to win."
Reysol beat amateurs Auckland City in their opening game and
Mexico's Monterrey on penalties in the quarter-finals to become
the third Japanese side to reach the Club World Cup semi-finals.
However, Santos, and Neymar in particular, could have a
field day in Toyota.
Santos coach Muricy Ramalho hailed Neymar's talent as
"absurd" and said he was already as good as some of the game's
"He is on their level, yes," he said when asked about
players such as fellow Brazilians Zico and Rivelino, and French
World Cup-winner Zinedine Zidane.
"I'm someone who is normally hesitant about giving players
labels like that. But a great player is a genius who sees play
unfold before others do and that's rare.
"The best I saw was Zico. Pele doesn't count - he was on a
level of his own.
"Zico had all the fundamentals - he could head, dribble,
shoot well with both feet, had great vision and was an athlete.
This is a great. Neymar is on this level; the way that he plays
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