Good evening sports fans!
Brazil are taking on Switzerland in a friendly this week. I’ve blogged about that in a separate post. In this one, Iâ€™d like to give you a quick update on the comings and goings from the Serie A with a bit of player news and transfer gossip thrown into the mix.
Table-topersÂ CruzeiroÂ and BotafogoÂ were both held to draws thisÂ weekend. Cruzeiro couldnâ€™t find a way past Santos (who are a shadow of the side they were a few years ago when they were the Libertadores Champions) – they drew 0-0. BotafogoÂ meanwhile could only manage a 1-1 draw with Goias. Third placed CoritibaÂ were unable to capitalise and surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to Vasco, with theirÂ former player Pedro Ken scoring the winner for Vasco.
Fourth placed Corinthians overcame Vitoria at home with minimal difficulty. Alexandre PatoÂ and Ralf scored for Corinthians. With a clean start to the league this year (i.e. no Libertadores distractions like last year), they are looking strong and are most definitely title contenders at this stage.
FlamengoÂ beat troubled FluminenseÂ 3-2 in the Carioca derby at the Maracana. Rafael SobisÂ scored two for FluminenseÂ but it wasnâ€™t enough as HernaneÂ (2) (not to be confused with HernanesÂ from Lazio and the Selecao) and Elias did the damage for Flamengo.
Things go from bad to worse for Sao Paulo after they lost to Portuguesa. The UOL website beamed the following headline: â€œIn 13 games, Sao Paulo have half the points that Corinthians did when they were relegated (in 2007)â€.
Ominous for Sao Paulo? Perhaps â€“ but you do have to love the statisticians! Iâ€™d put my money in Sao Paulo surviving. Theyâ€™ve got the quality in their squad to stay up and are only 3 points away from safety (funnily enough, thatâ€™s Libertadores winners Atletico-MG who are 16th with 12 points after 12 games).
There is a full round of games taking place midweek. FluminenseÂ v Corinthians at the MaracanaÂ on Wednesday is the pick. No Fred or Jean (both on SelecaoÂ duty) for Flu of course. BotafogoÂ v InternacionalÂ on Thursday â€“ also at the Maracana â€“ is another good one.
If you click on this link (before Saturday), you should be able to get the full league table and games.
Player and transfer gossip:
- NeymarÂ made his debut for Barcelona at the NouÂ Camp. And the match was against his old club Santos (that was on the Friday before last). Pretty embarrassing for him and Santos (and to some extent Brazilian football) as Barcelona thrashed their opponents 8-0. NeymarÂ played the whole second half and teamed up with MessiÂ for about 16 minutes. He didnâ€™t get on the scoresheetÂ but hit the post with a left footed shot and laid on a goal for Fabregas. After the game Neymar said he was â€œChateadoâ€ with his former teammates. Iâ€™d be pretty pissed myself!
- Since then, NeymarÂ has scored two goals for Barca in friendlies against Thailand and Malaysia. TataÂ Martino seems pretty happy with life and Neymar
- Sandro made a comeback appearance for Spurs in their friendly against Espanyol after seven months out with a serious injury
- Because everybody keeps going on about Gareth Bale, people seem to forget that Spurs have signed a world classÂ player in Paulinho. He also played in the friendly against EspanyolÂ (making his home debut for Spurs) and he scored a goal, which was disallowed, apparently rather dubiously. The player is looking forward to life in the Premier League though and thinks itâ€™s suited to his style. Its hard to translate exactly but this is more or less what he said: â€œThe game in England is fast and dynamic. There is a lot of movement and itâ€™s a tough, strong league. I think I fit this type of game well and Iâ€™m excited about the new league startingâ€. And Iâ€™d have to agree with Paulinhoâ€™s assessment of his own game â€“ fair play.
- CasemiroÂ is starting to earn his bread at Real Madrid. Initially signed and sent to their B team, he has been touring with the Seniors this preseason and scored a goal against Inter Milan in a 3-0 win. And it wasnâ€™t just a reserve team they sent out you know because he also set up a goal for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Spanish press have said he is the revelation of the preseason. Faithful readers will remember me citing him as one of the best young players in Brazil two years ago. A couple of other famous faces in that post. The only disappointment from that list is that Ganso has gone on to be a flop.
- Kaka played in the same match (3-0 against Inter) and scored a goal himself. Could he finally deliver in a Madrid shirt?
- Luiz Gustavo is out of favour at Bayern. He wasnâ€™t even called up for their last match. And this evening, the Evening Standard have said that Napoli are prepared to rival Arsenal for his signature
- Julio Cesar seems to think he is a World beater again. The problem is, the market doesnâ€™t and nobody seems ready to match his heavy wage demands. And so, for the moment, he is languishing in the QPR reserves
And that’s it for now. I’m seriously considering doing a new Top Youngsters in Brazil post. That last one is two years old. Obviously I got some of the big stars of the future right. Its pretty easy though when you watch Brazilian football â€“ any suggestions for this years award?
Leave a comment below â€“ join the debate!