The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
“I wish this month ends soon.”To the unaware listener, Flamengo coach Caio Junior sounds like his squad is having a black July. But it’s nothing like that at all, actually the team from Rio de Janeiro is top of the league, something they haven’t accomplished in around a decade.The gaffer's concerns instead centre on what is also the Brazilian fan's worst nightmare, something which happens every June and July... the transfer window.Since the Campeonato Brasileiro is the only top league in action during these two months, when the worldwide market is open, attention focuses almost solely on Brazilian teams' squads.
Every powerhouse has suffered at least one significant loss. Palmeiras have lost Henrique to Barcelona and keeper Diego to Liverpool, whilst Internacional watched Fernandão leave for Qatar’s Al-Gharafa, Fluminense's Gabriel went to Panathinaikos and Cícero to Hertha Berlin and Santos' Betão joined Dinamo Kiev.
Going Greek: Fluminense's Gabriel
Last week, Flamengo’s Caio Junior, who had seen Renato Augusto fly off to Bayer Leverkusen, also lost Marcinho – the tournament's top scorer – to UAE’s Al Jazira. No wonder he’s disappointed.In some cases, the overnight departures take even the club staff by surprise. Midfielder Roger, who arrived at Grêmio in February as the club’s top signing and won fans' hearts with smooth football and promises such as “I will retire here,” has gone back on his word, signing for Qatar SC after receiving an offer too good to turn down. Being the last one to hear the news, Grêmio president Paulo Odone went nuts. “He came to me on the Friday and said ‘I’m leaving, so I don’t want to play Sunday.’ How can I like that? He’s a traitor.” But it’s not just the actual signings that make a mess of the squads. The gossip and speculation also upsets the coaches, who claim the players lose their focus.That’s the case of Palmeiras’ Valdivia and São Paulo’s Hernanes and Alex Silva, constantly linked with European deals. So São Paulo coach Muricy Ramalho called Hernanes in for a little chat.“I told him he has to concentrate here and tell the people who manage his career to stop talking to the press about proposals. The players say it doesn’t influence them, but of course it does. To talk about such enormous amounts of money shakes every one.”It sure would make my legs weak...
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