Blog latest

Neymar dribbles past Oscar in training (Mowa Press)

Neymar dribbles past Oscar in training (Mowa Press)

Faithful readers,

Apologies for the lack of activity on here over the last few months but things like work, studies and other annoying day to day things have been keeping me busy and kept me away from blogging. I’ll try and get back up to speed after my exams in June. Until then, here are a few bits and bobs to keep you going.

The State Championships are over. And here are the winners of the major leagues:

Sao Paulo – Corinthians beat Santos (with Neymar) in the final. Danilo, the man for the moment, scored the crucial away goal for Corinthians who won 3-2 on aggregate.

Rio – Botafogo. Beat Vasco 1-0 in the Guanabara cup final. Then, they beat Fluminense in the Rio Cup final (also 1-0). By winning both of these competitions, they are the Rio State winners. Happy days for Mr. Seedorf and co.

Mineiro – Atletico-MG beat Cruzeiro 4-2 on aggregate. They won the first leg 3-0 but had a scare in the second until Ronaldinho – who else? – calmed the nerves.

Gaucho – Internacional won both competitions and Gremio didn’t even reach a final. Oh dear Vanderlei Luxemburgo!

Parana – Coritiba beat their rivals Atletico-PR with returning hero Alex scoring a couple.

Bahia – Vitoria beat Bahia 7-3 in the first leg to take the tie, 8-4 on aggregate.

Neymar’s form has been questionable. Too much partying perhaps or lack of motivation for the State Championships? Whatever the reason, this has not deterred Barcelona who have splashed out to buy the star. A first bid of around 15 million Euros was rejected. That seemed a bit low to me but but apparently he could leave for free after the World Cup so Barca thought there offer was reasonable. Not sure what the final price is though. Probably just a bit more than that. Gareth Bale’s agent seems to think it was around 60 million Pounds. Bollocks. Whatever, the point is Neymar is going to Barca after the Confederations Cup. This is what the bbc had to say.

Brazil’s squad for the Confederations Cup has been named and does not include Ronaldinho or Kaka. Or Robinho for that matter but nobody ever seems to mention him anymore. Five years ago, who would have thought that none of these guys would be around? Just shows that although Brazil produce so many fantastic players, many of them fail to stay at the top of their games throughout their careers and somehow they lose their way (and motivation). Something to reflect on perhaps.

In the Libertadores, all six Brazilian clubs made it through the group stages into the second round. But, only two are through to the third. Defending Champions Corinthians (holders, of course) are out. They holders lost against the team they beat in the final last year. By all accounts they were robbed by the match officials. Penalty appeals turned down and legitimate goals ruled out for non-existing offsides. Unlucky. Gremio lost to Santa-Fe from Colombia and Atletico-MG beat Sao Paulo to progress. Three goals from Jo. Wow. Ronaldinho running the show (as usual – why on earth wasn’t he called up for Brazil?). Palmeiras are out and now turn their focus on the Serie B (that’s right, last year they did a Wigan and qualified for Europe but got relegated too). Flu are the other Brazilian team through to the next round.

And on that note, the national league season is underway. Two rounds down and Sao Paulo lead with six points. Flu and Gremio, both on 3 points have only played one game though. Don’t understand the difference between State Championships and the national league? Check out Brazilian football explained.

Without the Libertadores to worry about, Corinthians must have a good chance to go on and win the league. Saying that though, they have drawn their opening two matches. Other candidates? Fluminese as usual. Santos – I don’t fancy them. Atletico-MG. Perhaps. Internacional or Sao Paulo – usual suspects. Could be there or thereabouts. Botafogo? Surely not. But, then again they did dominate the Rio State Championship and do have Clarence Seedorf. Any thoughts or tips?

Quite a write-up from Tim Vickery on Neymar and Brazilian football in general. Well worth a read. And I also liked this one about Neymar – obviously since he wrote it things have changed. But, this is something I had also been saying for a long time. He struggles on the International stage because players are quicker, harder and stronger and give him less space. Interesting the phycological aspect that Tim Vickery mentions. But, now that Neymar is leaving his comfort zone to test himself in Europe, all the more reason to be happy as a Brazilian football fan. With his move to Barcelona, he should take his game to another level.

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