The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
After weeks of placid quietude, Edmundo has had another outburst. After missing a crucial penalty kick in the Copa do Brasil semi-final, our very own Animal shaved his head and announced his retirement on Thursday. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. But I do remember Edmundo’s performance at penalty kicks. Below par, to say it with the due respect the former Brazilian international deserves.So I couldn’t believe it when I saw him walking up to the penalty spot once again – this time in the Vasco vs Sport shootout on Wednesday.He had just netted Vasco’s second goal - in the 91st minute - which tied the aggregate score and took the game to penalties. So, even if his team didn’t go through, the 37-year-old was going to be praised for getting them that far.But things seldom end well with Edmundo. As he strolled up to the spot you could see what the fans were thinking. “No, not him! Please no.” In other words: you could see the train wreck around the corner, but couldn’t warn the driver.The Animal then punted the ball on to the Copacabana and Sport got their ticket to face Corinthians in the final – more about this game next week – by winning the shootout 5-4. Oh, and last year Edmundo had also caused Palmeiras' elimination from the same Copa do Brasil by missing a penalty in the shootout against minnows Ipatinga.
Edmundo shoots and, predictably, misses
Team-mates said the striker cried a lot in the dressing room. Next day, when he returned to São Januário, he showed up bald and talked about hanging up his boots. “I’m angry with my self, shaving the head was a punishment. I can’t take it anymore, I’m anticipating my retirement. I’ll let the president know.”But kingpin Eurico Miranda didn’t accept Edmundo’s resignation. “He’s important to the club. It wasn’t his fault that Vasco was eliminated. He’s a club employee and will practice on Friday.”The president even mocked the Animal. “I asked him if he shaved his hair off because he had lice. He said he did it because he was upset. Ok then, I replied, now go home and be back here tomorrow.”This time, fans supported the resolution of the controversial Eurico Miranda, whose decisions precipitated Romário’s retirement. But perhaps they won’t welcome coach Antônio Lopes’ idea. “Edmundo is still the official penalty taker. I don’t see why not.”For everyone’s sake, Edmundo should keep on playing – providing that he stays far away from the spot, of course. And, given the coach’s view, this decision has to be taken by the player himself.He’s old enough to know he’s a lame penalty taker, admitting it won’t stain his resume. Not that he's ever worried about that...
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