For British football fans, Christmas is a time for joyously abandoning oneself to the vagaries of the fixture list. For our more cultured continental cohorts, it’s time for forty winks, a holiday and – heaven forbid – spending time with one’s family. Such are the rhythms of football life in Europe.
In Brazil, of course, the festive period brings the most miniscule of breaks before preparations for the next year begin in earnest. At least 2016 offers some hope in that respect: the nascent Copa Rio-Sul-Minas may well prove an important step in the overdue realignment of the Brazilian calendar.
Christmas is also time for reflection on the campaign that has just finished. History will show that 2015 was far from a vintage year in the Brasileirão: the overall level felt underwhelming at the best of times, many of the putative big hitters lurched through the season as if working off a few too many Friday-night caipirinhas, and any hopes of a real title battle were quashed months ahead of time.
Still, it falls to your so-called expert to dish out some praise. So stiffen your upper lip and join me on the podium for the WhoScored end-of-year awards, which you can read here.