Pele has hit out at Brazil coach Dunga for his reluctance to field creative players and believes the Selecao now come behind countries such as Argentina and Chile when it comes to playing beautiful football.
Brazil were hammered 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, before crashing out of the Copa America in the quarter-finals at the hands of Paraguay a year later and Pele feels recent results offer proof they no longer set the benchmark.
"I am sad just talking about it. I cried watching that game [the 7-1 loss to Germany] and not just because of the score. I cried because I do not know what happened to the joy of Brazilian football," Pele told ESPN.
"Maybe this summer in the Olympics and Copa America, we can remind the world of how Brazil plays soccer, but it will not be easy. I fear we have lost our way.
"There is no flair. Other South American countries like Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador now play more beautiful soccer than Brazil and you see what happens in the last two Copa Americas. We lose to Paraguay on penalties.
"Myself, Gerson, Rivelino, and Tostao were all No. 10s and yet [then coach Mario] Zagallo wanted us all on the field at the same time so he created a formation that could accommodate us. Then in Japan [at the 2002 World Cup], we had Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo who all had great flair and we won again.
"But today we have a coach who doesn't care about individual expression. Neymar cannot do it alone. You saw what happened in the World Cup when he couldn't play against Germany."