Itâ€™s all happening at Flamengo these days both on and off the pitch.Â First of all and most importantly for their fans they are through to the group stages of this yearâ€™s Copa Libertadores. They beat Real PotosÃ from Bolivia 3-2 on aggregate. But off the field, the signs look ominous as Vanderlei Luxemburgo was fired as coach and the row over Ronaldinhoâ€™s unpaid wages rumbles on.
Ronaldinho GaÃºcho is owed around R$ 4 million by Flamengo and clearly the player is a little pissed off about it. And heâ€™s basically thought, if these guys donâ€™t want to pay me then Iâ€™m going to take the piss. His brother and agent said that he wouldnâ€™t play in Flamengoâ€™s games against Real PotosÃ if his salary wasnâ€™t paid. His salary wasnâ€™t paid but while he did play in those games (and he played well in the second leg with an assist and a goal) heâ€™s decided to get his own back in other ways.
How to piss of Vanderlei Luxmbergo 101:
- Take a girl back to your room at the team hotel
- Pitched up for training 15 minutes late one day
- Give Luxemburgo a kiss on his head during training the next
- Call in sick and then get pictured at a pagoda party later that night
- Boast to the media about how you no longer need to take orders from the coach after heâ€™s been fired!
Ever the disciplinarian, Luxembergo was having none of it and wanted the player to be punished for such indiscretions. Luxemburgoâ€™s philosophy is that nobody is bigger than the club and discipline comes before names or politics. Of course, Luxemburgo is right.
Sadly, football is run shambolicly in Brazil by cowards and corrupt individuals. And instead of doing the right thing, the management hang their coaches out to dry in order to keep their star players happy and fans off their back. Thatâ€™s exactly what happened to Dorival Junior at Santos after he refused to back down over a row with Neymar. All ridiculously short term thinkingâ€¦
I donâ€™t like Vanderlei but sympathise on this one. Understandably, he was not too happy about the situation and has over the last week repeatedly said: â€œBlah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah.â€ Basically, taking a very long time to say that he believes he was unfairly dismissed.
Joel Santana and his excellent English meanwhile will be taking over as coach at Flamengo for the 5thÂ time, saying goodbye to Bahia as coach for the 3rdÂ time!!! Talk about loyalties! He seems to think itâ€™s not a problem at all and said that he is loved at both clubs.Â Is that right now Joel Santana?
When asked about being unethical and accepting the job before Luxemburgo had been fired he went on record to say: â€œBlah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah.â€ Not sure how long heâ€™ll be able to keep Ronaldinho happy though, especially if his wages arenâ€™t paid anytime soon. Anyone fancy a making a friendly bet â€“ how long until Joel Santana gets fired?
On the transfer front, Thiago Neves has already left the club and joined rivals Fluminense. Lanky defender Alex Silva (ex-Hamburg) looks like heâ€™s on his way to Internacional after he also got fed up with not being paid.
Quite shockingly, despite all of their apparent financial troubles, Flamengo have managed to splash out more than 10 million Euros to sign VÃ¡gner Love from CSKA Moscow.Â What a complete lack of respect for their current batch of players. Only in Brazilâ€¦..
On a happier note Bebetoâ€™s son, Matheus, made his debut for Flamengo last weekend. If young Matheus is anything like his Dad (yes, thatâ€™s the Bebeto who starred at the 1994 World Cup with Romario), then Flamengo might have quite a player on their hands.