By Fernando Ahuvia
Former AC Milan defender Cafu has asserted that Brazil must win the 2014 World Cup to restore the nation back to footballing greatness.
The retired right-back is the most capped player for his country with 142 appearances to his name, and is regarded as one of the South American nation's greatest-ever players with two World Cup victories to his name.
Now, speaking exclusively to Goal.com, he acknowledged the nation's struggles on the international stage since their last triumph in 2002, and for that reason emphasised the Selecao's need to lift the title on home soil.
“We must win the World Cup to rescue the image of the Brazilian team, because for me there has been a loss of identity,” the 41-year-old explained.
“The Selecao was not at its best in 2006 and 2010, but now we expect them to shine again in 2014. If you get positive results, the fans support you.“
There have been well-documented delays in Brazil's preparations for the tournament, but Cafu feels everything will be sorted out in time for the showpiece event.
“Brazil will host a great World Cup. Despite the delays, I think by 2014 we will be ready and Brazil will do well," he continued.
“We are concerned and will solve all the problems involved before the competition.
“For example, throughout the country we have traffic problems, but we will have a period of school holidays that will help in improving mobility. The airports are also being renovated to receive all guests,” he stated.
Finally, Cafu expressed his opinion that Santos star Neymar should make the move to Europe, much akin to when he left Palmeiras for Roma in 1997.
“I continue with my belief, but it does mean that my opinion is right. I think he should have gone to gain more experience and get used to facing players in European football," he noted.
“It's different. Not only Neymar, but I think other young players should also go."