Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a great football fan, has said that Argentine Lionel Messi "is the best player in the world," in comments published Thursday, reported dpa.
"When I see Messi - who is the best player in the world in my opinion - lose the ball, he runs off until he gets it back or commits a foul. Our guys lose the ball and fold their arms," Lula was quoted as saying by Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo in their online edition.
Players in the current Brazil squad "don't have a soul" the president complained.
Lula stressed that he respects current Brazil coach Carlos Dunga, who is under fire following his team's poor results. The captain of the Brazilian squad that won the country's fourth World Cup title in 1994 is not to blame for the current situation, he said.
"We are in a transition period (in the rise) of players."
Lula expressed concern that some players earned millions without having proved that they are actually good. "I see starting players in the Brazil team that are second substitutes in teams in England."
The president said that if he coached Brazil he would try and build the squad from players who are still with clubs in their native country, in order to do away with the idea that only footballers who play abroad can get to the national team.