The ghost at the feast: Luiz Felipe Scolari hopes that dropping Ronaldinho for the Confederations Cup won’t come back to haunt Brazil
There was no place for Kaká, Alexandre Pato of Corinthians, Chelsea’s Ramires, and, most perplexingly of all, Ronaldinho Gáucho
Rio de Janeiro? As stale as yesterday’s päo de queijo. São Paulo? As cutting edge as a mid-nineties Now That’s What I Call Music CD. These days, the footballing place to be in Brazil is Belo Horizonte.
If the 2014 World Cup is to signal the arrival of Brazilian football’s brave new world, a desperately needed fresh start for the game in a country where on-field majesty is usually matched by administrative skulduggery, it can’t come soon enough.
The nine state nordeste region, home to around 53 million people, is the wrong side of Brazil`s footballing tracks, a world away from the wealth and glamour of the big Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo club.
The Pacaembu terraces, usually packed with swaying hordes of Corinthians’ famously zealous fans, lay grey and silent during Wednesday’s Libertadores game against Millonarios of Colombia.
The group phase of South America’s juiciest footballing carrot, the Copa Libertadores, gets underway tonight at the Parque Central stadium in Montevideo.
A new manager, a famous stadium, proper opposition, and the World Cup coming up fast on the horizon? For Brazil, 2014 starts now.
Ronaldinho has reinvented himself since moving to Belo Horizonte. The legs are no longer what they were, but in their place a wiser, cannier playmaker has emerged.
It’s not known if Jimmy Cagney, responsible for the words above, had a favourite Brazilian football team, but if he did, the smart money might go on it having been Corinthians.
And so it goes. Brazilian football management proves once more that it is no country for level headed, if slightly ponderous, middle-aged men.
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