Thursday, 18 July 2013

Golden oldies: Veterans proving they can still teach the kids a thing or two in Brazil

Brazil is often viewed from without as a kind of adventure playground for teenage footballing savants. You've seen them on YouTube, running amok as lumpen-heeled centre-backs tie themselves in knots and groan with humiliation. From Pelé's riotous early years through to the marketing-friendly ascent of Neymar, youth has often held pride of place in a country that, in many ways, is itself taking its first steps. But in recent years the Campeonato Brasileiro is increasingly a league in which older heads can flourish.

Last season a rejuvenated Ronaldinho waltzed his way to the Brazilian Player of the Year award, dragging Atlético Mineiro from crisis-happy also-rans to title contenders in the process. He was joined in the team of the year by Zé Roberto, whose energetic performances on the left of Grêmio's midfield continue to belie his 39 years. Since 2008 Dejan Petkovic (38), Roberto Carlos (37) and Marcos Assunção (35) have all featured in Placar magazine's Bola de Prata – awarded to the best XI of each Série A season.

Read the rest of this article, on the old heads flourishing in Brazil, on the When Saturday Comes website.

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