Feb 262015
 
Neto Takes Risk In Looking For Next Big Move

Just as all comic book heroes need to have a flaw – because, frankly, the story would otherwise be too boring – so too did Brazil’s national team which would otherwise have been unbeatable.  And, for a long time, that flaw stood helplessly between the posts. By way of explanation, it used to be said that every child in Brazil wanted to play with the ball at his feet; to dribble his way up the pitch and score important goals.  No one grew up wanting to be a goalkeeper which […]

Feb 152015
 
Previewing Brazilian Clubs in the 2015 Copa Libertadores

The Copa Libertadores group stages start this week and the five Brazilian clubs taking part will look to improve on the country’s rather dismal showing in 2014. There were no Brazilian clubs in the last four, which, given Brazil’s economic supremacy over their South American brethren, represents a severe underperformance. As a paradigm, that’s the rough equivalent of all Premier League and La Liga teams striking out of the Champions League before the semi-final stage. Even in 2013, when Atlético Mineiro clawed their way to their maiden title, they were […]

Feb 152015
 
Pereira's Botafogo Should Aim to be Brazilian Football's Lone Star

As a Botafogo supporter, a Saint Garrincha fan, I wished the Lone Star had stayed in the Brazilian top division, the Brasileirão. However, I am not amongst the downtrodden rank who see relegation as a symbol of doom. Relegation is a lesson to any club; it says that the must prove they are better. Garrincha proved he was better than many, using his natural skill along with determination and joy. Botafogo have to do likewise, plain and simple. Strategically, I see many inescapable problems: no vibrant youth development, no money […]

Feb 112015
 
The Stars of the 2015 South American Youth Championship

The South American Youth Championship concluded in Uruguay last weekend, Argentina won the title after beating Uruguay, while Colombia finished in third place after beating Brazil. Colombia and Uruguay had impressive performances in the competition, outclassing a disappointing Brazil that looked tactically lost and without ideas. Argentina won the tournament largely due to the chemistry of Ángel Correa and Diego Simeone’s son Giovanni. The top four teams – Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil – qualified to the Under 20 World Cup. Argentina have also qualified to the Olympic tournament that […]

Feb 082015
 
Brazil's Decline Reflected in South American U20 Championships

Brazil’s first competitive games after the World Cup shambles came in the South American Under-20 Championships, which have just come to a conclusion in Uruguay. With a young, articulate coach in Alexandre Gallo, who had time to prepare for the competition, this was an excellent opportunity to put last year’s disappointments in the past and show that Brazilian football has licked its wounds, learned its lessons and moved on. That opportunity was emphatically not taken. True, Brazil did claim one of South America’s four places in the World Under-20 Cup, […]

Jan 302015
 
Galo Child (Slight Return): Bernard Out In The Cold At Shakhtar

During the last fortnight, Shakhtar Donetsk have been touring Brazil, playing winter break friendlies with Serie A sides Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro, Internacional, Cruzeiro and recently relegated Bahia. With 14 Brazilians currently listed in their first team squad, this was a literal homecoming for a significant portion of the Shakhtar squad. For no player was this slight return more spiritually nourishing than for Bernard Duarte. His move to the Ukraine has been difficult from the very beginning and his desire to leave may as well be inked onto his already heavily […]

Jan 272015
 
Vitor Flora - Liverpool’s Unknown Boy From Brazil

There is something undeniably romantic in a story of a young player plucked from anonymity by a big club.  This is partly because such stories happen so rarely but mostly it is because it is easy for the rest of us to identify with such a player; to want him to succeed and prove that perhaps there is latent talent in all of us if only someone bothered to look close enough. It is why many were so intrigued by Vitor Flora when he joined Liverpool in September of 2008.  […]

Jan 062015
 
Brazil Squad for 2015 South American Youth Football Championship

The 2015 South American Under 20 Championships will be held in Uruguay between the 15th of January and Febuary 7th, with the next generation of Brazilian stars hoping to show their class on this continental stage. Brazil last won the tournament in 2011, when young striker Neymar, then at Santos, made his name and finished as the competition’s top scorer with nine goals. This squad also included the likes of Lucas Moura, Oscar, Danilo, and Alex Sandro. Three stadiums will be used for the tournament, the Estadio Suppici in Colonia, the Estadio Domingo […]

Dec 302014
 
Brazil Suffers Striker Shortage Despite South American Boom

A few weeks ago, Arsene Wenger opined that South America was the world’s citadel for top class strikers. With the likes of Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and, if you want to stretch the definition of ‘striker’ a little, Lionel Messi setting a benchmark for forward play in recent years, Europe’s cupboard looks comparatively bare. Wenger elaborated: “Maybe it’s because in Europe street football has gone. In street football when you’re 10-years-old, you want to play with 15-year-olds.Then you have to prove you’re […]

Dec 292014
 
Are Attempts at Modernization Breaking Brazilian Club Football?

Last week, in the same bar and restaurant district of Belo Horizonte where visiting fans from Colombia, Chile, England and other countries gathered during the World Cup, Reinaldo, former Brazil international and the Atlético Mineiro’s all-time leading scorer, held a promotional event. During the party a big TV screen outside the bar showed some of the greatest moments from the glorious, though injury scarred career of O Rei (“the King”) during the 1970s and 80s. Many of them took place at the Mineirão stadium, and all were accompanied by shots of […]