The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
Dear readers, what a week. In a seven-day span, Brazilians were shown the beautiful game' version of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – with the ugly being really ugly, not spaghetti-western ugly but City of God ugly.
But let’s start with the good.
Continuing on the subject of our last blog, the Santastics didn’t make the club record for straight wins – a draw against Portuguesa on Sunday let them with 10 triumphs, two shy of the milestone. In fact, Santos actually escaped from the defeat in that game, with the equalizer coming in the 89th minute, thanks to sub Zé Eduardo.
FEATURE: Sizzling Santos steam towards successive-win record
Nevertheless, on Wednesday any kind of frustration was forgotten when Robinho, Neymar, Ganso & Co. demolished poor Naviraiense: 10-0.
Sure, the opponent was borderline amateur, as weak as San Marino’s third-stringers, but there are minnows playing big boys every week and you rarely need old-fashioned double-digit scoreboards.
Additionally, at least half of the goals were little gems, crowned with funny celebrations by the 2010 Village Boys – watch it all to the sound of the classic 1930s Brazilian chorinho Tico-Tico no Fubá. Keep up the good work, fellas.
Crossing the road to the bad side, now.
Brazilians watched TV keenly on Wednesday when two of the nations’ brightest stars, Kaká and Ronaldinho, reported for Champions League duty. By now you know the outcome: double failure for the former FIFA World Players of the Year.
FEATURE: Humiliated Milan can't even save wrinkly face
Those performances won’t probably convince coach Dunga to take the buck-toothed virtuoso to South Africa. But, hell, everyone know he could be there – me, you, Dunga, and especially Dinho. If just he had decided to start playing again a few months earlier...
On the other hand, Kaká, Dunga’s undisputed No.10, was, let’s face it, pure lameness. A non-factor in both games – in keeping with his poor record in La Liga – the midfielder has been rubbish since he landed in Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not at his prime either, yet he’s completely overshadowing Kaká. Fans at the Bernabeu generally don’t have much patience, but the Brazilian has been earning his share of booing.
Red alert: Dunga is worried – and we’ll get back to the subject in the future here at The Noise from Brazil.
FEATURE: Blame game beings in Madrid press
Last Friday, Adriano was having fun with some Flamengo teammates in a funk party in the favela of Chatuba when his fiancée, Joana Machado, arrived at the scene making a huge one of her own.
Angry because Adriano hadn't told her his whereabouts, Joana threw rocks at the cars of players Vagner Love and Álvaro. When she was going to hit keeper Bruno’s vehicle, she was restrained by the Emperor, who took some blows in return. He fought back, asking the local drug lords to take her out of there – and if she refused, Adriano reportedly ordered them to tie her to a tree.
Following the scandal, Flamengo director Marcos Braz went public to blame the booze for Adriano’s issues. “I’m not saying that Adriano has alcohol dependency, but after another fight with his girlfriend, he went back to the liquor.”
After bouncing back from his problems in Europe to win the Brazilian Championship and the tournament top scorer prize with Flamengo in 2009, returning to the national team in the process, Adriano has had a major drop-off this year – not only with all his off-pitch troubles, but also in his performances with Flamengo. He’s been more out than in, skipping practice after practice, not displaying the kind of commitment that drove him back to the Seleção.
The result? Remember you read it here first: Dunga won’t take Adriano to the World Cup. The gaffer won’t risk having the ambience shaken by the trouble-magnet heavyweight striker.
So we have a new forward spot available alongside Robinho, Luis Fabiano and Nilmar, and the race is already open. Pato? Ronaldo? Or... Santos's 18-year-old Neymar? The lobbying for the Santastic teen sensation has already started in Brazil. And guess who kicked it off? Yes, Pelé.
“If I was the coach, I’d take Neymar. He’s a wise kid, and has the game to be there. They say he’s too young, but I started on the national team at 16 years old and played in the Seleção for my whole life”.
Given the King’s notoriously bad prediction record, we'll never know if he’s a good or a bad PR for Neymar...
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