Brazil will be clear favourites to win the
World Cup for the sixth time when they take part in next year's
tournament in Germany, says former World Cup-winning midfielder Leonardo.
Leonardo, a figurehead and spokesman for the AC Milan foundation, was
speaking on Sunday during beach-football coaching sessions in Dubai
ahead of Monday's opening day of Soccerex, the world's biggest football
"They have to accept their role as the favourites because no other team
has so many great players as Brazil, just look at the team and you can
see them," Leonardo said one day after Brazil crushed United Arab
Emirates 8-0 in nearby Abu Dhabi.
"There is still Ronaldo, but we have also Kaka, Ronaldinho, Robinho,
Adriano and Roberto Carlos and there are more.
"I don't see any other team to stop them. Of course, they have to play
well to their ability but we know what Brazil can do in football. That
is why Brazil has gone all the way to the final in the last three World
The world champions turned on the heat in Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City
stadium on Saturday, recovering from a low-key lead of 1-0 at halftime
in the friendly by unleashing a seven-goal blitz after the break.
It was a satisfying result for Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira
whose team shone against the nation he coached to the 1990 finals. The
goals came from Kaka, Adriano, substitute Fred, who scored twice, Lucio,
Juninho, also with two, and Cicinho.
"I think the others will be challenging and the dangers will be the
usual strong countries like France, Italy, Germany and Argentina," added
Leonardo, who believes England could also challenge strongly in Germany.
Leonardo played a prominent role during a morning of training drills at
a festival of football for youngsters on the Jumeirah Beach.
Joining the Brazilian were British coaches Sir Bobby Robson, Bryan
Robson and Iain Dowie, who led demonstration classes, and Frenchman Eric
Cantona, who conducted a beach football session.
The sessions were watched by several football personalities including
English premier league manger Sam Allardyce of Bolton Wanderers,
Chelsea's chief executive Peter Kenyon and Arsenal's vice chairman David
Dein said he was leaving Dubai on Sunday evening to attend an important
meeting of the G14 clubs' pressure group in Milan.
The G14 is involved in a court case in Belgium in which Royal Charleroi,
a Belgian club, is testing the veracity of the world governing body
FIFA's player release regulations.
Many observers believe the case will prove to be a bigger bombshell for
football than the so-called Bosman ruling.
The case is due to be heard in March next year, but a discussion
relating to all the issues involved will be the highlight on Tuesday of
the two-day Soccerex programme.
The discussion is expected to involve FIFA director of communications
Markus Siegler, AC Milan's sporting director Umberto Gandini, a licensed
agent Denis Roach and Lord Brian Mawhinney, chairman of the English