Brazilian football has been on its short summer break and so have I. I could do with a longer break and I’m just a blogger – imagine the coaches and players! Anyway, thats the way it is and just over a month after Corinthians were crowned Serie A Champions here were are again.
The Libertadores qualifying rounds get under way tomorrow night with Flamengo and Internacional in action and the State Championships have already begun in many states. There has also been a fair bit of transfer activity so let me get you up to date without further ado.
Palmeiras legend and Brazil’s 2002 World Cup Winning keeper Marcos has retired from football. The 38 year old had a fantastic career for both club and country and is one of the most admired and respected professional footballers in Brazil today. In times when money and transfers to Europe are seemingly valued above any sort of loyalty, Marcos has stuck with Palmeiras through the good times and the bad. He won the Serie A title in 1993 and 1994, a Libertadores with the club in 1999 (when he was voted player of the tournament), stayed with them after their relegation from the Serie A in 2002.
Sadly, many European audiences will remember him in a Palmeiras shirt for his clanger against Manchester United in the 1999 World Club Cup final when he flapped at a Ryan Giggs cross allowing Roy Keane to tap home the winner. Brazilian’s will tell you he was a lot better than that. For more in depth account, check out the Anything Palmeiras blog. It’s also worth mentioning that to celebrate his retirement, Palmeiras played Ajax Amsterdam in a friendly match in São Paulo. Palmeiras won the game 1-0, perhaps going a tiny way to show that the difference between European football and South American football is not as huge as suggested by Barcelona’s thrashing of Santos last year.
On the transfer front, Thiago Neves left Flamengo for his old club Fluminense. Ronaldinho could be following him through the exit door since Flamengo haven’t paid his wages for over five months. Corinthians have been touted as a possible destination. Surprisingly, despite their apparent lack money, Flamengo have been bid 8 million Euros for CSKA striker Vágner Love. They have signed Marcos González, a 31 year old defender who played for Universidad de Chile. The player was voted the best defender in the Americas by Uruguayan newspaper El País – just ahead of Vasco’s Dedé. Must be a really good player then!
Brazil international Jadson has signed for São Paulo from Shakhtar Donetsk. His new coach Emerson Leão was very happy with his new signing saying he was particularly pleased about the player’s brilliant left foot. He went on to compare him with Rivaldo even though Jadson is actually right footed. Twat! São Paulo have also signed Brazil international left back Bruno Cortês from Botafogo plus a bunch of lesser known players.
Cruzeiro’s brilliant Argentine playmaker Montillo won’t be moving to Corinthians according to the latest reports. Although another excellent Argentine playmaker, Andrés D’Alessandro, could be on the move, leaving Internacional for Chinese football. Shanhai Shenhua have offered him a two year contract worth 10 million euros over two years. The player is tempted but Internacional have only been offered 7 million euros for his signature and are unimpressed. If he does leave, Inter would be looking to replace him with either Jesús Dátolo (Espanyol) or Lucho González (Marseille). Whats with Inter and Argentines?
Tottenham were linked with Ganso in a 15 million pound deal but that seems to have gone dead. A mate of mine saw Ganso in a club recently and told him he should sign for Barcelona to which he replied: “Yeah, I wish!”. Just not happening for poor Ganso at the moment.
Finally, Corinthians have signed striker Elton form Vasco. The player scored quite a few goals at Vasco and scored on his Corinthians debut at the weekend. But, the ladies of São Paulo watch out because he claims to have been with 500 women. I’m really not sure that’s anything to be proud of but quite a record for a 26 year old nonetheless.
State Championships are underway already
I’m not a huge fan of these competitions because of the already over-crowed calendar and the fact that they take so long. As a blogger I’d prefer a longer summer break and I’m sure the players and staff would too. But, its back and there are some surprises already:
- Gremio lost to Lajeandense 2-0
- Internacional lost to Avenida 3-2 despite fielding a relatively strong team
For a full explanation of the state Championships, how they work and what I don’t like about them, check out Brazilian football explained.
I am a huge fan of the Copa Libertadores of course and that is getting started already. Again, the timing of this competition doesn’t make much sense to me. Two Brazilian teams will take part in the qualifying rounds of the competition tomorrow (Wednesday 25 Jan) night. Internacional host Once Caldas in a very tricky qualifying tie while Flamengo take on Bolivian minnows Real Potosí at altitude in a place called Potosí. I’ve been there and just walking around town gave me a headache, the city is so high up. Expect a possible surprise in that one but when I would bet my house on Flamengo winning the return leg in Rio comfortably next week.
I’ll get results and fixtures for the Campeonato Paulista and Cariaoca up soon. I’ll also update transfers page too. Bear with me while I ease back into the swing of things.
Last but not least, something I haven’t gotten round to doing is an in depth obituary on Sócrates – the Brazilian and Corinthians legend who passed away late last year. For those interested in the life and times of the great man, check out this article on the Economist, highly recommended to me by a Corinthians fan.
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