Wednesday 22 February 2012

Suárez/Evra: The Poem

In a brief dalliance from my obsession with Brazil, I took it upon myself to put pen to paper (or rather, fingertips to keys to word processor) over the Luis Suárez/Patrice Evra affair. The result won't tell you anything you don't already know. But it does rhyme, which is something.

The poem has been published by the utterly bewitching Run of Play (which recently moved from one corner of the internet to another). To read it, click here.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Follow the Money: On Third-Party Investment in Brazil

Third-party investment is - for better or worse - a fixture of the football landscape in Brazil. Independent firms buy up chunks of the economic rights attached to players, hoping to turn a profit if and when those players are involved in transfers to other clubs.

In my début effort for The Score, I take a closer look at this practice and consider some of the concerns to which it gives rise. Whilst not always problematic, I argue, third-party investment can weaken the ability of players to govern their own careers. I also highlight cases in which the involvement of independent parties has unfairly effected the balance of power within the Brazilian game.

To read the article, click here.

(Photo credit: Renato Pizzutto.)

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Menezes Names Squad for Bosnia Friendly

Mano Menezes has announced his first Brazil squad of 2012, exactly two weeks ahead of the seleção's friendly against Bosnia. The major news is the inclusion of Ronaldinho Gaúcho, who is one of only a handful of experienced players within the squad. Six other Brazil-based players have made the list.

The full squad is as follows:

Júlio César (Internazional)
Diego Alves (Valencia)
Rafael (Santos)

Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
Danilo (Porto)
Marcelo (Real Madrid)
Alex Sandro (Porto)
Adriano (Barcelona)
Dedé (Vasco da Gama)
David Luiz (Chelsea)
Thiago Silva (Milan)
Luisão (Benfica)

Elias (Sporting Lisbon)
Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur)
Paulo Henrique Ganso (Santos)
Hernanes (Lazio)
Lucas (São Paulo)
Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Flamengo)

Neymar (Santos)
Hulk (Porto)
Jonas (Valencia)
Leandro Damião (Internacional)

Notable omissions from the seleção include Kaká, Alexandre Pato and Fábio da Silva, all of whom have struggled to hold down first team spots for their clubs this year. Lucas Leiva and Ramires are absent due to injury, whilst Lúcio and Maicon have also been overlooked. Perhaps more surprising are the absences of Robinho and Ralf, who have been fixtures in Menezes' selections over the past year.

The form of Jonas at Valencia gives Brazil options up front, with Hulk having failed to convince in a central striking role last year. Menezes is blessed with options for the supporting roles: from the energy of Lucas and Neymar to the more cerebral Hernanes and Paulo Henrique Ganso. In defence, Dedé appears to have cemented his role in the squad, although the smart money is on David Luiz to reprise his role as Thiago Silva's centre-back partner.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Libertadores Preview

The group stages of the Copa Libertadores kick off tonight, to the considerable delight of fans around the continent. South America's greatest club competition continues to hold considerable allure, uniting a range of footballing cultures as distinguished as they are distinct.

With Brazil represented by no fewer than six teams in this year's edition, I though it worthwhile to preview the competition from a Brazilian perspective. At least three Brazilian clubs, I suggest, will have realistic pretensions of lifting the trophy come July. (Although I don't actually name which three... so, for the record: Santos, Inter, Corinthians.)

The article can be found on the ever-excellent In Bed With Maradona, and by clicking here.

Monday 6 February 2012

Myth, Verse and Futebol

Just a friendly reminder to readers (hello again, by the way) that SKP also digs up old photos and writes futebol-related poetry over at sister site Games Against Nature. If you enjoy my writing here, my hope is that you'll find it at least moderately diverting.

(You should be seeing some more of my long-form handiwork very soon, incidentally. Watch this space.)