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.
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.
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.
And so it goes. Brazilian football management proves once more that it is no country for level headed, if slightly ponderous, middle-aged men.
Three of the four Rio clubs boast average gates of 10,000 or less, Santos are often watched by around 5,000, particularly when Neymar isn’t playing, and the recent game between Atlético Goianiense and Sport attracted a grand total of 449 paying customers.
S.P.Y, also known as Carlos Lima, is one of many fantastic drum and bass producers to come out of Brazil. Following a string of well-received releases on Metalheadz and his current home Hospital Records, he’s been watching the praise roll in since the release of new LP ‘What The Future Holds’, which came out earlier this month.
Neymar remains in Brazil, and if he stays, will spend the months leading up to the World Cup pitting his wits against sides which will fail to test him.
The four month long state championships, relevant in some parts of the country but, in their present form, an outdated encumbrance in others, run from January to early May, meaning that a 38 game national league season has to be squeezed into the remainder of the year.
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