Wednesday, 20 August 2014

New faces provide reason to be cheerful even in the wake of Brazil's managerial farce

Some clever bloke with a hip, east-London beard once said that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. You don’t imagine that the corrupt old boys of Brazil’s football federation have much time for Marxist thinking. And yet, somehow, no group or individual in the game appears so committed to embodying that snappy, throw-away maxim.

These days, they don’t even wait for the pain to sink in before following it up with light relief. Just witness their choice in Brazil coach. Dunga was hounded out of the job after the disappointment of the 2010 World Cup, accused of being a tactical Luddite by a press corps for whom he could barely conceal his distaste.


But here we are, four years and two coaches later, back at square one. A bright new dawn was needed after the horror of The 7-1, yet Brazil have instead drifted back into the recent – and unsuccessful – past. Farcical barely even covers it.

Still, at least there was some good news in Dunga’s first squad selection. For a start, there was no Felipe Melo. Indeed, the former Internacional coach should be gently commended for drafting in five players who have impressed in the Campeonato Brasileiro in recent months – and who were overlooked by his predecessor.

Read the rest of this piece here.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Replacing Ronaldinho no easy task for Atlético-MG

He left as he arrived: with misdirection and mystery. Whispers of discontent. A request to play at the testimonial of Deco in Portugal. A missed flight. A few days off the radar. For Ronaldinho, it was ever thus. After two years of magic and madness with Atlético Mineiro, the medicine show is now set to roll on – possibly to the MLS, possibly pretty much anywhere where there are parties and girls and fans who know his name.


Not that Atlético can have failed to leave an imprint on his heart. From the moment the Galo were revealed as his destination after some all-too-public football club speed dating in 2012, this was always going to be a match made in heaven. The club indulged Ronaldinho's occasional dalliances and he repaid them with healthy dollops of his genius, as well as an international profile they had hitherto lacked. In 2013, the Belo Horizonte club won the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their history.

Now, though, they must rebuild. For WhoScored, I take a look at the players who will need to step up for Atlético in the second half of 2014.