Pele tells Neymar to pick Barcelona over Manchester City... and stop worrying about his hair

Brazil legend takes swipe at young striker

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The Independent Football

Three-time World Cup winner Pele has urged Neymar to snub any advances from Manchester City and join Barcelona instead.

Brazil's current leading player is expected to leave Santos following the 2014 World Cup, and has been linked with a host of clubs in Europe.

Reports this week have suggested Manchester City will lead the way, and are prepared to pay £55m to acquire the services of the 21-year-old.

However, Pele has told Neymar that the English game would not suit him, and a move to Barcelona in Spain would be a better destination.

"The game is tougher in England, Italy and Germany because the referees usually let play go on. Barcelona would be ideal for him," said Pele.

"Santos need him and for that reason I don't think he should leave but if he must go it should be to Barcelona."

Neymar was a major disappointment when Brazil played England in a friendly at Wembley earlier this month, leading some to question whether he is worthy of all the hype, especially considering he has only every played for one club. Pele is concerned by the amount of attention Neymar receives.

"He is an excellent player but he doesn't have any experience outside Brazil. In every game he plays outside Brazil, he doesn't do well. Everybody thinks Neymar can solve the national team's problems, but he isn't ready for that burden.

"We have a great deal of confidence in him but he has become a regular player for the national team."

Despite doubts over Neymar's elevation to the role of Brazil's saviour, Pele believes the Santos striker has the potential to be among the world's best. However, the Brazil legend took a swipe at Neymar's off-field antics in a clear warning that the youngster must focus on his football if he is to achieve greatness.

"We think that he is the best in the world, but he is more concerned about appearing in the media than playing for the team," Pele said.

"Neymar has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. Right now his major concerns are fashion and his haircut."