- Associated Press - Saturday, June 22, 2013

SALVADOR, BRAZIL (AP) - Soccer’s Confederations Cup, which ends on June 30, and next year’s World Cup have been among many targets of the massive demonstrations sweeping Brazil. Some protesters angry at corruption and poor public services are also complaining about the millions of dollars spent on huge stadiums in cities with dire poverty and lack of public services.

Here are some voices from the men on the fields of play:

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Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil national team coach: “We all want justice in our country. Those in the government also want this. We can’t only crucify them. We all want it and we will work together for that. But it doesn’t happen in a day. We have to work together to tackle some issues so that hopefully in one, two, five or 10 years from now things can change.”

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Pele, Brazil’s most famous former player: “There are a lot of bad characters taking advantage of this opportunity and they are hurting these peaceful protests that have been calling for what is best for the Brazilian people. I think we can’t allow these bandits and bad characters to get in the way of this opportunity to make demands for our country.”

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Neymar, current Brazilian team star: “It’s sad that it got to a point where we need to go to the streets to demand better conditions. The only way I can represent and defend the country is by playing football, and from now on I’ll walk on the field inspired by this movement.”

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Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni: “I am very sorry and my whole team is very sorry to see that there is a lot of tension at the moment because this means there is dissatisfaction on behalf of the people, and this is not good for society, for social life, for sport, or for anything really.”

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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli: “As sportsmen we’re hoping that tomorrow there is a great football match at the stadium and that nothing happens outside the stadium. It would be a paradox if inside the stadium we’re trying to put on a show for the fans and 150 meters outside the stadium there is violence.”

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Italy defender Riccardo Montolivo: “If someone protests and expresses their unhappiness they should be respected, as long as the protest is done in a non-violent manner.”

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