The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
With a huge chunk of regulars missing for both sides, it was kind of predictable that we weren’t going to witness a high-flying team performance from neither England nor Brazil in their friendly match in Qatar.
The most likely thing to occur then was the game being decided by a stellar individual exploit.
There were some well-known heroes on the pitch who were expected to do the trick.
But neither Wayne “Shrek” Rooney nor Luis “Fabulous” Fabiano – nor the debuting Brazilian Hulk, premiering with the Seleção shirt – were able to shine.
Instead, it was a skinny, fragile, disguise-free kid who settled the contest.
Villarreal’s ace Nilmar, with his with his characteristic boy-next-door simplicity, scored one header off Elano’s perfect cross early in the second half to seal another Samba Boys win against England.
Brazil’s own Peter Parker had an outstanding match, piercing England’s defence and fighting for each ball.
His efforts also awarded Brazil a penalty, which Luis Fabiano, on an ordinary Joe afternoon, fired high over the bar.
Now coach Dunga, who a while ago was in doubt if Nilmar deserved the fourth forward spot for the World Cup – Luis Fabiano, Robinho and Adriano seems to have clinched the first three – has another dilemma:
Should the Villarreal striker be made a starter?
If the place he’s bound to take didn’t belong to Robinho, Dunga would had already given it to Nilmar.
The Brazilian coach kind of has a debt of gratitude with the Manchester City struggling star.
When Kaká and Ronaldinho Gaúcho asked to be released from the national team to play in the Copa America, Robinho was there to lead the pack to yet another continental triumph.
Despite his bad shape, Robinho usually gives everything for Brazil, and the gaffer acknowledges it.
Nilmar, however, has no problem waiting.
Alongside an enormous talent, patience is one of his virtues – despite the baby face, the 25-year-old forward has already been through a lot.
After a sensational start in Internacional and a forgettable stint at Lyon, the striker returned to Brazil to shine, alongside Carlitos Tevez, in the 2005 Corinthians squad who took home the Brazilian Championship.
But in 2006 and 2007, the star suffered back-to-back potential career-ending knee injuries, and was sidelined for more than 15 months in total.
Unshakeable, Nilmar bounced back in 2008, again with his alma mater, helping Internacional to win the Rio Grande do Sul State Championship, the Copa Sudamericana and the Dubai Cup.
His superb performances – which included a contender for the 2009 goal of the year in Brazil – brought him back into the national team and secured him a second chance in Europe.
If he keeps playing like this, and if he stars in the World Cup, Villarreal will be history soon.
There’s plenty of top sides still looking for a superhero – especially one that doesn’t need to switch to a secret identity to perform.
Nilmar bites like Spiderman without leaving the Peter Parker attire.
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It was a good header but lets not get carried away, he scored it against one of the most anemic looking English Squads I've seen in a long time.
If I were England I'd be making excuses not to go, they were outclassed by a Brazilian squad that wasn't even in scalp-hunter mode. England seriously needs to rethink their entire National Team, its not really about the coach but about the players who play like they're mostly interested in preserving their shiny white kit than in getting dirty. It starts with Rooney but trickles down entire line... time to start showing a little pride and heart.
Nilmar is a tremendous player and generally underrated in Europe.
I really do think that at the right club he can establish himself amongst the 'top band' of strikers across the world. The guy has everything needed to become a goal machine.
I also think credit must be given to Internacional who have allowed him to progress and helping him return to and maintain full fitness after his injuries which could of quite easily scarred his ability.
The extraordinary lengths top Brazilian clubs go to with regards to physically preparing their players is too often overlooked but Europe.
I really hope Nilmar can push on with the Selecao and become one of the stars of the 2010 World Cup.
Hi again Celso,
Just an idea but I'd like to see you mention the Copa-SP here. The groups were drawn yesterday and I think a piece on this would provide a good insight into one of Brazilian football's most significant youth competitions.
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