The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
Ladies and gentleman, this Sunday we're all set to have a new champion in Brazil. Well, not exactly a new one since São Paulo FC, who are bound to clinch the title over the weekend, also won the tournament last year... and the year before that.The club from Morumbi will make history by becoming the first club with six crowns to their name in the 'modern era' of the Brazilian championship, which started in 1971. And in addition, they’ll be the first side to record three consecutive triumphs.Such a supremacy might indicate that, this season, São Paulo have been soaring above everyone else, cruising to their third consecutive Brazilian title. But in truth it's been far from the sort.
São Paulo fans get ready to party
This year, the Tricolor ran on the outside lane, letting Grêmio, Flamengo, Cruzeiro and Palmeiras take turns on top. And for a long time it appeared that a top-four finish, securing a Libertadores spot, was the best they could aim for.
By the half-way stage, São Paulo were 4th, eight points behind leaders Grêmio. The two teams then faced each other, with Grêmio winning 1-0 and pushing São Paulo down a place to 5th.That was back on August 17, the 20th round of the Brazilian championship, the last time São Paulo tasted defeat. Two and a half months later, on November 2, Muricy Ramalho’s side finally hit top spot... and haven't relinquished it since.While their opponents have continued to slip up match after match, São Paulo - with authority - have won tough away games against Portuguesa and Vasco, opening up a five point lead between themselves and runners-up-elect Grêmio, who got pounded 4-1 by Vitória last Sunday, effectively kissing their title hopes goodbye.
"Let's all do the samba, let's all do the samba..."
Well, almost. If Grêmio win their two last matches (against Ipatinga and Atlético-MG), and São Paulo lose theirs (against Fluminense and Goiás), the Gaúchos can celebrate their first national title since 1996.
But it won’t happen, not in a million years. This year’s Christmas is already red, white and black.
Congratulations, São Paulo FC.
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