Alberto, Gullit, Cole champion 2018 bids

RIO DE JANEIRO - Former players Carlos Alberto, Ruud Gullit and Andrew Cole, visiting Brazil for the Soccerex football forum, were divided over which European bid would be best to host the 2018 World Cup.

Carlos Alberto, Brazil's World Cup-winning captain in 1970, said he would like to see world champions Spain and neighbours Portugal as co-hosts.

Former Netherlands midfielder Gullit pushed his own nation's joint bid with Belgium and ex-England striker Cole said his country would be an ideal venue.

FIFA will announce the venue for the 2018 and 2022 finals in Zurich on December 2.

"In my opinion today, it should be Spain and Portugal. Why? Spain are the actual champions of the world and Portugal also have tradition," Carlos Alberto told Reuters.

"(Portugal) held the European championship a few years ago (in 2004). They have conditions, beautiful stadiums, for me it should be Portugal and Spain," he said after a beach tournament involving former players.

Gullit said a Dutch-Belgian World Cup would be compact and green.

"There is not a lot of travelling for all the people. You can take one hotel, from that hotel you can go to every game around this tournament," said Gullit, whose country staged the Euro 2000 tournament jointly with Belgium.

"This is a useful advantage and…of course it is the greenest World Cup ever. We provide two million bikes."

BEACH TOURNAMENT

Cole took part in a beach tournament under a baking sun in 30 degrees heat.

"I like to believe we've got a great infrastructure in England, I think everyone knows the passion of the English game," he told Reuters.

"It is shown around the world and a lot of players want to play in the Premiership because of the passion and the support we have. So fingers crossed we can get the World Cup."

Brazil are staging the next World Cup in 2014, which former Argentina midfielder Ossie Ardiles believes they can win, though he said his country can be strong again under new coach Sergio Batista.

"Brazil are always one of the favourites and even more playing at home," said the 1978 World Cup winner.

"I believe Argentina will have a good team, we have the players. Lately we have had the players but have not achieved much."