Fluminense continue to defy the critics and they won the Rio Cup (Taça Rio) on Sunday. Their 20-year-old forward Pedro scored one of the goals in a 3 – 0 win against Botafogo and was quick to praise Fred (ex-seleção), who used to play for Fluminense, but suffered a serious knee ligament injury playing for Cruzeiro this weekend.
I don’t have time to do Fluminense the justice they deserve in this blog post, since I need to haul my ass to work fairly soon. But what I can say is that they have sold their six best players over the last nine months or so, yet they continue to defy the critics and put in some decent performances. A collection of kids and journeymen professionals have been moulded into a well functioning unit by coach Abel Braga. I take my hat off to them.
Key player sales in the last nine months:
Richarlison (to Watford)
Wendel (to Sporting Lisbon)
Henrique Dourado (to Flamengo)
Henrique (to Corinthians)
Gustavo Scarpa (to Palmeiras)*
Diego Cavalieri (to Crystal Palace)
*they didn’t sell Gustavo Scarpa, but the player left the club claiming that his contract was invalid since he wasn’t paid on time.
Given these sales and the generally poor administrative situation that the club find themselves in, avoiding relegation last year was a success. Winning silverware this year is even better. I’m not saying that a club of the stature of Fluminense should be in this position, but the fact that they are performing so well on the field, given the circumstances, is impressive.
As for the injured Fred, I’ve never been the biggest fan of his football (at least not when he played for the seleção), but he is one of Brazil’s best marksmen of his generation. I wish him a speedy recovery from the cruciate ligament injury that he suffered this weekend. Fluminense fans used to love Fred, and would sing “O Fred vai te pegar”, which means, “Fred is going to get you”. During the match on Sunday they say “O Pedro vai te pegar” / “Pedro is going to get you”. High praise for the kid. I wish him luck too.
The games keep coming thick and fast. Fresh from their triumph against Botafogo in the Rio Cup, on Thursday Fluminense will play Vasco in the semi final of that competition. No time for hangovers. Flamengo will play Botafogo in the other semi final on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in São Paulo, Santos will be looking to overturn a 1 – 0 deficit against Palmeiras this evening in the second leg of their São Paulo state championship semi final. São Paulo take a 1 – 0 lead into the second leg against Corinthians on Wednesday night.
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