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 Friday, August 2, 2002 22:23 EST

Pele upset with Scolari's criticism


RIO DE JANEIRO -- Present and past Brazil heroes Ronaldo and Pele have both retaliated after criticism from World Cup winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

In an interview last week, Scolari said that he had repeatedly reprimanded Ronaldo during the World Cup campaign, describing the competition's top scorer as a "spoiled player" who needed to be taught how to play for the team.

Scolari had targeted Pele the week before, claiming he knew nothing about football and saying: "If you want to win a tournament, you have to listen to what Pele says and then do the opposite."

Ronaldo, speaking during a visit to a Rio de Janeiro cancer hospital with his two-year-old-son Ronald, denied on Friday that he was spoiled.

"I think he's wrong," he said. "My son is spoilt but his father is not. I still think it's more difficult for people to handle victories than to handle defeats."

Ronaldo visited the hospital to donate some of the prize money he won at the World Cup.

Earlier on Friday, Pele also took a swipe at Scolari, who was apparently upset because Pele had refused to tip Brazil as World Cup favorites early in the competition.

"I don't understand his position," Pele was quoted as saying by several Brazilian newspapers.

"When I said that Brazil were not favorites, France, Argentina and Italy were really in a better position than us and Brazil really were not in a good state. But I never wanted Brazil not to win.

"I've always given my opinions, the Brazilian people have known me since I was 16. I helped Brazil win three World Cups.

"I don't known what's happened with Felipe. As the media just talk about Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo as heroes, he must be jealous."

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