RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil star Neymar is under too much pressure to deliver the hosts with a sixth World Cup trophy, football legend Pele told the BBC.
The 22-year-old Barcelona striker - who has scored seven goals in Brazil's nine successive friendly wins leading into the finals - is too young to be loaded with such expectations said Pele ahead of the hosts opening game with Croatia in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
Pele's comments came despite his impressive performances for Brazil at last year's Confederations Cup - the mini dress rehearsal for the World Cup - which saw them overwhelm present World Cup holders Spain 3-0 in the final with Neymar scoring a spectacular goal.
"Neymar is young," three-time World Cup winner Pele told the BBC.
"It is a heavy pressure for him to get all the responsibility." Pele, 73 and Brazil's record goalscorer with 77 goals, said coach Luiz Felipe Scolari - who coached Brazil to the last of their five World Cup trophies in 2002 - had succeeded in turning the team into an outstanding defensive unit, which has often been the weakness in the national side.
They have scored 30 goals and conceded just two in their nine consecutive victories since losing to fellow World Cup finalists Switzerland last August.
"For the first time in history, Brazil has a defence better than they attack," said Pele.
"The midfield back is fantastic. Very organised. I hope we can adjust from the midfield forward."