Clodoaldo said Spurs midfielder Paulinho was the player who would fulfill his former role in the current Brazil team.

“Paulinho can mark. Maybe he doesn’t have what I consider was my strong suit, which was hard tackling, but he has a great technique and he knows how to control a game very well," said the former Santos player.

"He can get forward when he has to. He is a player who can even surprise with his prowess in the air. I think he is the player that plays closest to the kind of football I played for 14 years,” he added.

Clodoaldo sat at the back of one of the greatest midfields in modern football. Playing alongside Rivelino and Gerson, he was hard but silky and an integral part of the well-oiled machine that fed forwards Pele, Tostao and Jairzinho. He is best remembered for scoring a goal in thesemi-final against Uruguay and for his dribble past four Italian players that started the move for Carlos Alberto's iconic fourth goal in the 1970 final.

Brazil currently have an embarrassment of riches in midfield, with players such as Luiz Gustavo, Oscar and Ramires all but guaranteed to make the final squad for the June 12-July 13 finals.

But others such as Fernandinho, Hernanes and in-form Corinthians player Jadson are biting their nails as they wait for Luiz Felipe Scolari to name his 23 men on May 7.

Paulinho is also expected to make the cut.

He has been a regular since Scolari took over in 2012, the year he starred for Corinthians when they won the Libertadores Cup and Club World Cup.

He followed that with outstanding performances for Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup.

Soon after he joined Spurs but his form has faltered this year and Brazilian newspaper reports have linked him with a post-World Cup transfer to Real Madrid or Chelsea.

Clodoaldo advised the 25-year old not to worry about his club form and said he faced similar challenges in the 1970s.

“He’s not having a great time right now but I also had moments like Paulinho,” Clodoaldo said.

“Sometimes I was called up for the Brazil team and the press said Clodoaldo has ... not been playing well for Santos. And when I played for my country I was sometimes the best man on the pitch," Clodoaldo added.


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