Skip to main content

Brazil icon Pele backs Mourinho to succeed at Chelsea

From Rachel Nichols, CNN
updated 12:20 PM EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pele believes Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea is good for the English Premier League club
  • Brazilian warns that the arrival of the Portuguese does not guarantee success
  • Three-time World Cup winner saddened by Neymar leaving Santos for Barcelona

(CNN) -- Legendary Brazilian footballer Pele believes Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea will benefit the London club but he has warned there is no guarantee the Portuguese can deliver success.

Mourinho made his long-awaited return to Stamford Bridge on Monday, after cutting short a three-year tenure at Real Madrid despite having another three years left on his contract.

The 50-year-old won the 2012 league title with the Spanish giants, and the Copa del Rey the year before, but failed in the club's primary objective -- to win a 10th European crown.

Read: 'Special One' Mourinho returns to Chelsea

The relative lack of success in the Champions League, where Mourinho guided Real to the semifinals in each of his three seasons, may underpin Pele's comments about his reappointment at the home of the 2012 European titleholders.

Mourinho returns to Chelsea
José Mourinho's press conference antics
Neymar dealing with the pressure
Why did soccer stadium roof collapse?
Pedro Pinto's road to Rio

"Mourinho's return is good for Chelsea because he's a good coach," Pele told CNN's World Sport.

"He is talented and very honest. I know him personally. But football is a box of surprises.

"He has to have a bit of luck because in football, sometimes the best doesn't work. I wish him good luck."

During his first stint in charge of Chelsea from 2004-2007, Mourinho delivered the club's first English title in half a century before adding another Premier League crown, an FA Cup and two League Cups as well.

While he was away, the former Porto manager won his second Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010, a year when he won the league title for the second time with the Italian club.

Desperate to win the Champions League for the first time since 2002, Real Madrid turned to Mourinho just days after he ended Inter Milan's barren 35-year run in the competition.

But even with the goalscoring ability of star player Cristiano Ronaldo, the semis proved an insurmountable barrier as successive exits at the hands of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund followed.

Mourinho's relationship with his compatriot Ronaldo broke down towards the end of his Madrid reign and the coach explained why in typically outspoken fashion during an interview broadcast by popular Spanish football show "Punto Pelota" on Tuesday.

"I had only one problem with him -- very simple, very basic -- which was when a coach criticizes a player from a tactical viewpoint, trying to improve what in my view could have been improved," he said.

"And at that moment he didn't take it very well because maybe he thinks he knows everything and the coach cannot help him to develop more."

While Ronaldo's future at Real Madrid has been the subject of recent debate, the endless speculation is finally over about where a Brazilian youngster who is often compared to Pele will end up.

Read: Neymar vows to help Messi

Neymar, 21, signed a five-year deal with Real's great rivals Barcelona this week, leaving behind the very club where Pele made his name from 1956-1974: Santos.

After winning numerous titles with the club, including the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Neymar has often been labeled "the next Pele" but the man himself -- still the only player to have won the World Cup on three separate occasions -- refuses to make such a comparison.

"To be the new Pele would be very difficult, because my mother and my father closed the machine," joked the 72-year-old, who lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

"But no doubt he is one of the best players we have in Brazil."

"Of course in Brazil we have a lot of excellent players like Zico, Tostao, Rivelino, Pele, Ronaldinho, but the last two years we have Neymar, who is very talented.

"I hope he has luck in Barcelona. I didn't like it so much because he used to play in my team, Santos. I lost a good player. But it's important to understand that he deserves to go to the best team."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT