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06th Sep 2016

Pele has bestowed some serious praise on Brendan Rodgers

He's a fan

Robert Redmond

“I started coaching for one reason and that was to make a difference for people, not just as footballers but as human beings.”

Most probably sighed, sniggered or rolled their eyes when Brendan Rodgers uttered these words when Liverpool manager in 2013. And rightly so, it was the latest in a series of cringeworthy statements by Rodgers.

(Although not as bad as: “I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope.”)

However, it appears Rodgers has achieved his goal of bettering the players at his disposal – according to Pele anyway.

Cardiff City v Liverpool - Premier League

The Brazilian football legend, and winner of three World Cups, has credited Rodgers with improving Luis Suarez as a player and a person during the two years the pair spent together at Anfield.

“I think Celtic are very lucky to have a manager with the qualities of Brendan,” Pele told The Scottish Sun.

“Luis Suarez was a really good player when he went to Liverpool but I believe Brendan gave him great coaching, guidance and advice and made him a better player and a better person.

“Suarez was prepared well for his move from Liverpool to Barcelona after working under Brendan. Celtic have a good reputation around the world – and have a good manager.”

The 75-year-old also named El Hadji Diouf as one of the 100 greatest living players in 2004, so it’s worth taking his words with a pinch of salt.

However, he has a point about Suarez’s development as a player at least under Rodgers.

The Uruguayan scored 15 goals in 44 games before Rodgers became manager in the summer of 2012, and scored 54 in 66 games under the Northern Irishman before joining Barcelona in 2014.