Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Traditional big guns stumble into new season in Brazil

After the most cursory of off-season breaks, football returned to Brazil this weekend as the state championships kicked off with their usual whimper.

As has become tradition, the first round of games drew precious few fans to stadiums, even in the nominally more glamorous Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo competitions, with most preferring to watch from home, if at all. Of all the flaws with Brazil’s footballing calendar, one of the most glaring is that it leaves no time at all for expectation to build.

Read the rest of my weekly Yahoo Eurosport column, on the early-season worries of Brazil's big guns, here.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Brazil bids farewell to Clarence Seedorf, King of Rio

In the October issue of Brazilian football magazine Placar, 28 prominent journalists were asked which player – of all those plying their trade in the Campeonato Brasileiro – they would bring to their team if they could.

One chose Alexandre Pato. One plumped for Andrés D’Alessandro. Two picked Zé Roberto; ditto Elias. Four went for Alex.

14 chose Clarence Seedorf.

“He brings something to a club as a whole, not just the team,” purred commentator Paulo Vinícius Coelho. Erich Beting, another member of the panel, was more explicit: “He is a leader and has a wealth of experience that no one else in Brazil can match.”

Such giddy plaudits have been de rigueur since the Dutchman stunned the world by joining Botafogo in 2012. But they ultimately proved insufficient to bind him to his new home. On Tuesday, Seedorf announced that he was hanging up his boots – six months before the end of his contract – in order to manage Milan.

Read the rest of this piece on the Yahoo! Eurosport website.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Crazy celebrations, PR howlers, sex, funk and trolling: Weird and funny stuff from 2013 in Brazilian football

The new year may already be a week old, but it’s not too late to reflect on the past 12 months. Or at least that's what I told myself when I was writing a belated list of the worst (best) gaffes and assorted ephemera of 2013 in Brazilian football for Yahoo! Eurosport.

The piece features celebrations gone awry, PR howlers, wannabe WAGs, seductive strikers, replacement roosters, masseur martyrs and plenty more besides. Click here to read it. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2013: A year to remember and a year to forget for Brazil

2013 was always likely to be one of those years for Brazil. With a certain international tournament lurking like a spectre, the country attracted the world’s gaze perhaps more than ever before.

The spotlight illuminated heartening highs – not least the embattled patriotism of the Confederations Cup win and the protests that provided the backdrop – but also plenty of causes for concern. As 2014 begins, I've written a potted review of the last 12 months for Yahoo! Eurosport. Click here to read it.