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Football: Brazil great Rivaldo announces retirement

Former Brazil star Rivaldo, the winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1999, announced his retirement from football on Saturday at the age of 41. "With tears in my eyes, I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player. Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to the end," said the former Barcelona playmaker in a message posted on Instagram.

Football: The pressure's on Neymar at World Cup - Pele

The pressure will be on new hero Neymar to end Brazil's fear of failing on home territory at this year's World Cup, according to the country's all-time great Pele. Pele told AFP in an interview that the World Cup is a major opportunity for Brazil despite the nerves and dark talk of stadiums not being ready on time. But Pele is worried about striker Neymar, who is carrying a nation's hopes into the tournament that starts in Rio de Janeiro on June 12.

Football: The pressure's on Neymar at World Cup - Pele

The pressure will be on new hero Neymar to end Brazil's fear of failing on home territory at this year's World Cup, according to the country's all-time great Pele. Pele told AFP in an interview that the World Cup is a major opportunity for Brazil despite the nerves and dark talk of stadiums not being ready on time. But Pele is worried about striker Neymar, who is carrying a nation's hopes into the tournament that starts in Rio de Janeiro on June 12.

Football: Pele confident Brazil will deliver on and off field

The hosting of the 2014 World Cup is "a great opportunity" for Brazil, the country's all-time great Pele told AFP in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Pele revealed his confidence that the tournament will be a memorable one for all the right reasons while also backing Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil team to handle the huge pressure of being hosts. Brazil's organisation of the World Cup has been marred by negative headlines about the struggle to get some of the 12 stadiums finished on time.

Football: Neymar scores hat-trick to lead Brazil romp

Neymar scored a hat-trick as Brazil ended a run of narrow victories over South Africa by cruising to a 5-0 triumph at Soccer City stadium in Soweto on Wednesday. A much-hyped friendly between the last and next World Cup hosts lacked bite as the 'Selecao' exploited woeful Bafana Bafana (The Boys) defending. Oscar opened the scoring on 10 minutes, Neymar struck once in the first half and twice in the second, and Fernandinho got on the scoresheet as well.

Neymar hat-trick as five-star Brazil cruise

By Mark Gleeson JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Neymar scored a hat-trick as Brazil crushed hosts South Africa 5-0 in a friendly at the venue of the 2010 World Cup final on Wednesday. The Barcelona striker took his tally for his country to 30 after Brazil, who changed their strip at halftime from their traditional yellow and white colors to an all-blue kit, took the lead through Oscar after 10 minutes at Soccer City.

Football: Question-marks remain as Scolari eyes Brazil glory

One hundred days from kickoff, and Brazil's 200 million fans dare to believe a sixth World Cup title beckons on home turf. Abroad, as well as at home, the reputation of the most successful team in the tournament's history marches proudly before them. The Selecao alone, after all, can boast world titles on four continents -- only blotting their geographical copybook at South Africa 2010. Setting aside security and other logistical worries, most of the sporting ingredients appear to be in place. But question-marks persist over Brazilian squad depth.

Football: 'Lovestruck' Jefferson has eyes on Brazil prize

Jefferson de Oliveira Galvao is not a household name in world football. In Brazil, certainly, the 31-year-old does not go unrecognised, but in the wider world, a place on Brazil's bench does not bring much global esteem. Yet the Botafogo shot-stopper is eyeing a slice of the limelight at a home World Cup in June as he bids to persuade Luiz Felipe Scolari to make him his number one. The man in possession of the shirt, Julio Cesar, has been Scolari's undisputed first standout choice on the basis of 77 Selecao caps won over a decade.

Football: Leverkusen sign Brazilian starlet Wendell

Bayer Leverkusen have signed Brazilian left-back Wendell for next season on a five-year deal to continue the club's tradition of recruiting south American talent. The 20-year-old, who will join Bayer at the end of the season, currently plays in the Brazilian top flight for Gremio, on loan from fourth-tier Londrina. Wendell has penned a deal until June 2019 after Bayer's director of sport Rudi Voeller flew to south American to complete the signing. "Wendell is a big talent who can play a decisive role for us," said Voeller.

From Maracana to the sambadrome, Rio honors Zico

Zico may have failed to lift the trophy in three campaigns, but the former football legend's legacy will be at the heart of Rio Carnival celebrations marking World Cup year in Brazil. The Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school will pay tribute to the former Brazil and Flamengo star, who also managed Japan and was nicknamed the "white Pele," when they perform on Monday. Zico starred in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 campaigns of the "Selecao," which saw entertaining teams miss out on glory. But the fans have not forgotten his silky skills.
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