“Winning is good. Winning the Santa Catarina derby is even better. Winning the Santa Catarina derby and guaranteeing a return to Serie A SENSATION!” club tweeted after the match at the empty Conda arena.
Chapecoense lost nearly all of their first-team squad and some of the directors and backroom staff when their plane headed for Colombia for the Copa Sudamericana final crashed into a hillside outside Medellin.
Winning is good. Winning the classic Santa Catarina is better. Win the classic Santa Catarina and guarantee access to the SENSATIONAL Serie A!
Some players in the Brazilian league may be relieved that the game is being played behind closed doors at the moment, as it limits the opportunity for angry fans to protest.
Even so, angry supporters can still gather at the airport and training ground, and it’s not just the team at the wrong end of the table who can feel the power of anger. Sao Paulo and Flamengo is a prime candidate to win the league table but, in recent months, even players from these clubs have been harassed or seen derogatory slogans plastered on the walls of their training ground.
Some of these are manifestations of an angry society. The old tourist myth of Brazil as a land of the lucky and the fortunate of the satisfied has crumbled in the light of recent political events.
But there’s also something else, an intrinsic factor in Brazilian football, but something that should serve as a stern warning to those in charge of European club play.
Brazil is a country the size of a continent, a geographic fact with significant implications for the development of the game. For decades the transport infrastructure was insufficient for a true national championship. Brazilian football then developed as a regional phenomenon. The focus is on local. There are prototypes, but the national league was only formed in 1971. Until about 25 years ago, state championships were still very important, one for each of the 27 states that make up this giant nation.
It is under this approach that so many clubs have amassed titles and prestige to be considered giants. The heart of the southeast and south – Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre – contains 12 recognized giants, a number that does not even include clubs from the far north with mass support.
The last few decades have seen important changes. Brazilian club football has moved from a regional to national approach. The state championships are still around, but they have lost their light. Their time had been reduced, and even so, they were seen as the current tournament as little better than unnecessary chaos.
This creates a problem. The club now aims to win the national league or domestic cup, or the continental Copa Libertadores. In a sporting culture obsessed with winning now that state championships are an afterthought, there are not enough titles left for all the so-called giants to maintain their status of giants.
In a league of 12 giant clubs, one is destined to finish no more than 12. And a club that can consistently only crave mediocrity in mid-table can hardly be called a giant.
Imagine an example Botafogo. They supplied a number of great players to Brazil’s 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cup winning teams, but they are now facing relegation for the third time in this century. This is no big surprise. Their support base is relatively small compared to their Rio neighbors, Flamengo or even Vasco da Gama. In a national environment, when a large gap opens up in the number of paid teams in TV rights, it is difficult for Botafogo to be competitive. It has been some time since they entered the league season with realistic hopes of winning the title – and that is a difficult reality for those who draw on the stories of Garrincha, Didi, Nilton Santos, Zagallo, Amarildo and Jairzinho.
The transition from regional to national is guaranteed to create dissatisfaction from supporters.
Now let’s apply this to the hopes of some of the great European clubs of setting up a continental super league.
The parallels are clear – it’s just a case of imagining Europe as one country and seeing a national league similar to the Brazilian state championships. And indeed, some European leagues have become like state championships: Losing prestige due to loss of competitiveness, becomes more predictable when financial gaps open. The whole continent’s super league would start with, say, 20 clubs, all of which would enter the competition with giant status, based on the fact that they won most of their matches.
But in a 20 team league, one has to finish 20th, and 19th, and so on. And a club that loses a large part of its game will soon be doomed to lose its giant status, and become a major disappointment to a generation of fans who have grown up with titles and glory.
The European Super League, then, seems destined to please some of the people at the top, and prove a major source of discontent for everyone.
Sunday is a fairy tale for fans of Brazilian club Corinthians.
The last few years have not been easy for a giant club, perhaps the second most popular in the country. In 2012, they finally won the Copa Libertadores, the South American Champions League, and ended the year with a beat Chelsea and won the Club World Cup. A period of supremacy seemed guaranteed.
This is a newly established club in Brazil, counting on the fanatical support of former president Luiz Inacio Lula de Saliva. And another dream will come true soon. Corinthians play at the Pacaembu stadium – well located near the heart of Sao Paulo, but owned by the city government and often shared with Sao Paulo, Palmeiras and Santos. For decades, plans had been foiled for Corinthians to get their own home, but thanks to the 2014 World Cup, the wait has ended. New land was built in Itaquera, to the east of the city, and once Brazil ’14 is over, it will belong to Corinthians. The good times will roll in soon.
And there are good times. Corinthians won the Brazilian Championship in real style in 2015 – a victory that catapulted coach Tite into the job of the Brazilian national team – and repeated the feat in a more pragmatic manner two years later. They also won the local Sao Paulo title three years in a row between 2017-2019.
But their ‘East Side Story’ had a problem. Having your own stadium is great. Paying for it, however, has been a tremendous headache. It proved to drain club finances to such an extent that a mighty club was forced into a low-budget organization, with obvious consequences on the pitch.
A few years ago, the idea of Corinthians in the middle of the league table would have been seen as a disaster. However, at this moment, it even felt like a relief. The club have been looking anxiously over their shoulder in the relegation zone of late.
Even worse, historic rivals Palmeiras have found a much better way to handle the transition to a new (in this case rebuilt) stadium. And supported by rich sponsors, they have been able to put together a deep squad and challenge for the top trophy. They were champions of Brazil in 2018, and are set to advance to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores for the second time in three years.
If there is one consolation for Corinthians fans, it is the problem of their other city rivals, Sao Paulo. Long held as an example of a well-run club, Sao Paulo has recently been in turmoil. Their only title in more than a decade was the Copa Sudamericana (South America’s Europa League equivalent) in 2012. So Corinthians fans can find comfort in the way Sao Paulo amasses frustration and humiliation.
But in recent months, with brave coach Fernando Diniz finally finding the right balance for his side, Sao Paulo has soared to the top of the league standings. They go to the new Corinthians stadium with a 17-game unbeaten run in the league that puts them seven points clear of their closest challengers.
But Corinthians found hope in an unexpected quarter. Some fans with time on their hands and despair in their hearts have stumbled upon the game of stats. In Taylor Swift’s 15 year musical career, Corinthians was unbeatable in the game before and after every album she released. And on the Friday before the match, the country singer released her ninth album ‘Evermore’ – a name that might even refer to the effectiveness of the spell she had clearly placed on Corinthians.
Because it worked again. Sao Paulo was very slow, while Corinthians were fearless, and deserved their 1-0 win.
Corinthians supporters will be anxiously awaiting Swift’s next release. But unless the pop star starts making a new album every week, Corinthians will need to find other sources of inspiration to change their fortunes.
Santos has suspended his former contract Brazil international attacker Robinho, the club announced on Friday.
Robinho, 36, rejoined Santos for a third stint this week, signing a five-month contract with the Sao Paulo side. However, the deal was met with public outcry in Brazil, stemming from a 2017 sentence for the former AC Milan and Manchester City involvement of a man in the rape of a 22 year old woman in a nightclub.
“Santos Football Club and Robinho, by mutual consent, have decided to suspend the contract signed on October 10 in order for the player to concentrate exclusively on his defense in the ongoing case in Italy,” the club said in a statement.
Robinho confirmed the news on Instagram, saying: “It is true, with a lot of sadness in my heart, I have come to tell you that I made a decision together with [Santos] president to suspend my contract at this difficult time in my life. “
“My goal has always been to help Santos Football Club, and if I get in the way, I better go and focus on my personal problems. [Santos] fans, those who love me, I will prove my innocence to you. “
On Thursday, Brazilian orthodontic franchise Orthopride announced it was ending its sponsorship deal with the Sao Paulo giant “in honor of women,” and said the company had not been notified before Robinho was signed.
Robinho, who is a free agent, has signed a five-month contract with Santos that will pay him $ 271 (R $ 1,500) a month, which is slightly above Brazil’s minimum wage.
He last played for Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir, helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.
Robinho rose to fame after making his professional debut as a teenager with Santos in 2002. He’s been playing for it ever since Real Madrid, Guangzhou Evergrande and Atletico Mineiro, among other clubs.
He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two seasons with Santos.
At international level, Robinho earned 100 caps for Brazil, scoring 28 goals. He participated in two World Cups for the five-time world champion.
Former Manchester City go on Robinho has signed a five month contract with the former club Santos and will earn $ 271 (R $ 1,500) a month which is slightly above the state minimum wage.
The 36-year-old has returned to join his childhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left the Turkish team Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.
“I am good physically and mentally, obviously there is still a bit of rhythm [missing], but over time we will evolve gradually. “
Robinho, who rose to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, then played for it Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.
He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two seasons with Santos.
“I have lots of good memories here,” added Robinho. “The fans can be sure that I will do my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.
Santos FC is going through tough financial times. So it is time for those who can do something. I want to help a club that always gives me everything. Santos FC has done a lot for me and these returns are still small. . “
Santos is currently experiencing financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA due to outstanding debts.
Chilean club Huachipato is suing Santos for completing a $ 3.4 million deal for the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian side Atletico Nacional claim they still owe $ 774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.