Last week in São Paulo, Chilean playmaker Valdivia and his wife were victims of kidnapping express, a sort of crime that has annoyingly been occuring on a daily basis throughout Brazil. If it happened two or three decades ago, perhaps he would be set free for being a celebrity, but nowadays any one can suffer from it in the samba boys’ country. Anyway, what really drew Maracanazo 2014′s attention was the way which Brazilian media and football fans regarded at this incident: plenty of folks believed he set up the whole thing!

Valdivia is on his second spell at Palmeiras ( one of the most popular Brazilian teams with an estimated 15 million fan base ) and he isn’t making it now as before, what led Porco supporters, reporters and even the local police to think that he made it believe in order to facilitate a probable exit from the club. Very few ones put emotions aside and stopped to think of the dire straits he went through, once that the kidnapper aimed a gun at him and also sexually assaulted his wife by touching her breast. What could have caused such a biased view?

Despite the fact that Brazilians love criticizing their country among themselves, they don’t appreciate when foreigners do it. Cariocas (inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro) hate when somebody affirms that their city is too dangerous and their first reaction is to say that ‘every city in the world has its good and bad sides’. Dear Maracanazo 2014 reader, do you honestly deem that the images below could be seen in a city where there’s no war?

Children looking at a dead in Rio

Drug dealers destroyed a police helicopter in Rio

Not the first

It’s commonplace to presume that everybody is welcome in Brazil, though, the reality is that only Americans and West-Europeans are truely respected in the hosting country of 2014 FIFA World Cup. The point is that Valdivia, for being a South American, became one more foreginer who somehow suffered from the average Brazilian s’ mentality which is founded on Eurocentrism and devotion to the USA. He certainly would promptly be helped out if he were from Italy or from Texas, for instance.

Before moving to Brazil to play for Corinthians in 2006, Chilean goalkeeper Johnny Herrera heard from his colleague and countryman Nelson Tapia (that had been Santos FC keeper a year before) that Brazilians could be extremely impatient towards Chilean players. Later on, Herrera himself alleged that Tapia’s statement was right. Valdivia has never spoken up about it, however, during his first spell at Palmeiras, he took a long time to concede his first press conference because he wanted to speak accurate Portugueses to avoid further inconveniences. Although it’s hard to meet a Brazilian proficient in English, Anglophones can easily find someone willing to translate what they have to say.

Recent news

The police ended catching recordings showing that Valdivia’s version was true. The Chilean international decided to carry on his staying at Palmeiras. It seems that he will be alone in São Paulo City, given the fact his wife amd children are afraid of coming back to the greatest Brazilian city.

Maracanazo 2014 wonders what might happen to EVERYBODY that will have visited Brazil by June/July of 2014.


“Democracy is something new to South American nations, that were dominated by dictatorships until the second half of the last century” (Andrew Jennings, BBC reporter)

Historical background

Unfortunately, football has an intrinsic and strong link to politics in South America and what happens off the pitch ends up reflecting on the pitch. During the period in which dictatorships set rules, some people and even clubs benefited from their privileged network and, probably, the realization of FIFA World Cup in Argentina is the greatest example of it due to the fact that the local military used the competition to deliver a successful image in order to legitimize their control.

You reader might be wondering why FIFA allowed its tournament to take place in a troublesome Argentina where an estimated 25 thousand people were killed, but you gotta keep in mind that the president at that time was an influential Brazilian man: João Havelange. From 1956 to 1974, he was the president of CBD (Brazilian Confederation of Sports) and, under his rule, Brazil won 3 FIFA World Cups. Despite the fact that  samba boys’ country was facing severe repression because a strict Unconstitutional Act established two years before the World Cup in Mexico (1970), both the Brazilian dictatorship and CBD adopted the circus et panis policy by associating the fantastic performance on the pitch with a political campaign that was approving of the harsh regime.

There are many examples of people and institutions which benefited of the Military Dictatorship. The Brazilian club that probably benefited the most from dictatorship is São Paulo FC. For reasons Maracanazo 2014 can’t figure out, Brazilian media has never investigated it, but it’s true that a meaningful part of Tricolor Paulista‘s patrimony was obscurely forged by Laudo Natel, who was simultaneously the club’s president and Governor of the State of São Paulo – and non elected by the population. It is reasonable to think that Mr. Havelange followed in the footsteps of Mr. Natel by picking up a couple of lessons that, some years later, certainly became part of FIFA’s procedures.

Nowadays

We can see some dictatorships going on in South American football. Nicolás Leoz has been the president of CONMEBOL (the South American Football Confederation) for 25 years; Julio Grandona became the head of AFA (Argentine Football Association) in 1979; and Ricardo “Ricky Tricky” Teixeira was the set-ruller of CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) between 1989 and early 2012.

Things remain the same in Brazil, though Teixeira’s exit. His successor is José Maria Marin, a former footballer and Governor of the State of São Paulo in the last years of dictatorship in Pelé’s country. A couple of months before taking charge of CBF, Mr. Marin was caught stealing a player’s medal in the final match of a youth league.

This was done in front of cameras, then it isn’t difficult to imagine what he might be doing when there’s nobody watching… Unfortunately, Maracanazo 2014 is afraid to stress that, off the pitch, Brazil will keep on being old-fashioned.


Language can be a social barrier anywhere because one of its functions is to be a status symbol, as it allows someone to be labeled by their accent, by their idioms and so on. Portuguese is Brazil’s official mother tongue and is totally mastered by around 25% of Brazilians, usually by the ones who could afford a good education. Although football is just a sport, it’s affected by this educational flaw and it frequently provokes a clash between those who could study – media professionals and some of their followers – and those whose only option to get a better life was investing their time in their talent – footballers.

Most of Brazilian footballers come from a very humble background in which good health care and proper education aren’t offered by a government that is efficient in charging and collecting high taxes. They probably would be facing a hard time if they didn’t become well-paid athletes. They can get a comfortable and costy lifestyle after making it, but the hard times insist on following them by putting some barriers on their professional lives. This time, the communicational issue is going to be analized by Maracanazo 2014.

Mother language

Official statistics show that illeteracy is no longer a problem in Brazil, but the actual fact is that 3/4 of Brazilians are functionally illiterate. That means they can’t read and write beyond a basic level, what has already been causing a couple of problems: it’s difficult for companies to find high-qualified workers, people are likely to be easily deceived, popular culture lacks a better quality etc. Concerning football, a great deal of athletes can’t figured out the game from a thoeretical perpective and can’t  speak out their minds clearly.

In spite of complaining that players always come up with the same answers, reporters insist on asking the very same questions every season . Also, some communicators try to take advantage of Brazil’s low educational level in order to cause controversy, what many times make them sell more and increase their audience.

Mauro Cezar Pereira, who works for ESPN Brasil, often mocks Brazilian footballers that express themselves confusedly. It’s a shame because, as a journalist, his major activity is commenting on what’s news. In addition to it, if he wanted to play the teacher role, he’d encourage someone’s improvement instead of putting them down.

Foreign languages

Aldair – AS Roma legend and FIFA World Cup champion – had been living in Italy for a long time and, consequently, he picked up the local language and got used to the Italian habits. His time in Rome even gave him an Italian accent while speaking Portuguese – what is quite normal, by the way. Some Brazilian reporters have already made fun of the retired defender by saying that ‘he can’t speak good Portuguese anymore’.

Well, someone able to observe and analyze the sly Brazilian mindset knows that a typical middle-class Brazilian dreams of visiting a West-European country, especially during the season in which ‘there’s snow and people look fancier‘. In fact, most Brazilian reporters undoubtedly would love to have the opportunity of living in countries such as Italy, Spain or France but the reality is that just a minority can make it come true. So, it’s fair to say that they are envious when they see footballers (who usually used to be favela dwellers) enjoying life in Europe.

When the footballer happens to come from a middle-class family, the media treatment is different. Leonardo (PSG’s current manager) and Kaka (Real Madrid’s playmaker), for instance, are respected, praised and words are carefully chosen when they are referred to. On the other hand, why hasn’t anybody said that Romário can speak some Dutch? Does it have anything to do with his humble background in Rio de Janeiro?

The situation worsens when Brazilian journalists think they can criticize a foreign player – and then we gotta mention Mauro Cezar Pereira as an example once again. In spite of pathetically mispronouncing both English and Spanish words as well as international footballers’ names, Mr. Pereira has already been enough arrogant to affirm that Carlos Tevez speaks ‘bad Spanish’. Also, he was one of the millions of Brazilians who sneered at a Joel Santana’s interview in English.

The former Bafana Bafana coach is far from speaking an accurate English, though he probably learned it at an advanced age. Moreover, what’s the point of being so exigent about English in a country like Brazil, where its official language is fully mastered by around 25% of the population? By the way, is English so well spoken in Brazil as it is in the Netherlands or in Sweden?

It’d be better if there were more respect from the media towards Brazilian footballers, that’s for sure. But some reporters are just like spoiled kids, so things won’t change so early. Anyway, if you’re thinking of visiting Brazil and if you don’t wanna have communicational problems, just follow Maracanazo 2014′s recommendation: learn some Portuguese beforehand!


Romário's cabinet in Brasília

Romário is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most successful strikers of all times, with more than a thousand goals scored. On club level, he was the top scorer of important leagues and became a legend in big sides as Vasco da Gama, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Flamengo, among others. His flawless performance in 1994 World Cup inspired and led the Brazilian national team to lift their fourth trophy after a twenty-four year period of frustration. According to Dutch genious Johan Cruijff, ‘Romário had a fantastic quality in his football. In spite of not working that hard, he could create incredible plays’.

O Baixinho (The Short Man) retired in 2009, then he ran for Federal Deputy and was elected with an expressive votation: 146.859 Rio de Janeiro citizens chose him as their representative.

In an interview published by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo on June 20, Romário gave his views on Ricardo “Tricky Ricky” Teixeira (Brazilian Football Confederation president) as well as on the organization of the next FIFA World Cup that will take place in Brazil in 2014.

world champion and golden ball winner

Folha – How do you you assess the World Cup’s organization?

Romário – When the World Cup was announced back then, I celebrated it a lot. I said two things: Brazil had conditions not only to host the World Cup, but also to organize the greatest one of all times. I remain with the first idea. I give up the second one.

Folha- Why?

Romário – Because, according to what I can see, things won’t happen. There will be the World Cup but, unfortunately, we’ll have problems and it isn’t going to be the best of all times. I’m going to tell you something: the evangelicals believe Jesus is going to come back. Only He is able to make Brazil organize the best World Cup. If He falls down from heaven in the next three years, it’ll be possible then.

Folha – Does Ricardo Teixeira accumulate power for commanding LOC (Local Organizing Committee) and CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation)?

Romário – In Brazil, there are skilled people who can take the role of commanding LOC, but he thinks he can do it. Due to his age (64), it isn’t good for him though. I’d pick another person, someone as Henrique Meirelles (former Brazilian Central Bank president), for the Olympic Games. It’d be a smaller stress.

celebrating a goal against Real Madrid

Folha – Does a ‘Henrique Meirelles solution’ to the World Cup still have enough time to happen?

Romário – In my point of view, as we’re three years far from the World Cup, it would be a good idea if Mr. Teixeira and his assessors concluded that there’s room for somebody else. But, sometimes, vanity is on people’s way. I don’t know if it’s his case, maybe it is.

Folha – Why did you invite Ricardo Teixeira to testify at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil?

Romário – I’ve been to five World Cup host-cities and I’m going to other ones later. There was a budget at the beginning of the preparation that, at least, was doubled. According to what I heard in those cities, they couldn’t comply with the planning. FIFA sends a recommendation to LOC, and LOC transforms it into an obligation. Ricardo Teixeira is LOC’s president, CBF’s president and takes part of FIFA ranks. There’s nobody in Brazil or world-wide that can answer what really is going on better than him. If things don’t change, the stadiums are going to cost R$15 billion, and that’s a shame.

Folha – And the complaints about bribery charge?

Romário – If he comes and explains it, I’ll be the first to sign for a PCI ( parliamentary commission of inquiry) and ask the other deputies for the same thing. But, since when there was a PCI request, a new complaint appears every day and the whole thing gets weirder and weirder. I definitely don’t know if the Chamber will have enough time to check it out. I’d come and and testify if I were president Ricardo Teixeira. Even if he isn’t responsible for an illegality or for the slowing down in any construction, he’s Brazil’s almighty and he has to answer.

playing for PSV Eindhoven

Folha – What if Teixeira doesn’t clarify it all?

Romário – If he isn’t successful in his answering, not only will I keep my signature to open a PCI, but I also will make the other deputies sign it as well. It isn’t a personal issue.

Folha – Who is against the PCI affirms that it can disturb the organization of the World Cup…

Romário – Being grateful to Ricardo Teixeira due to the World Cup doesn’t mean that he’s the World Cup. I understand that there are political issues that can spoil the World Cup by messing with a person as powerful as he is. I’m from PSB (a Brazilian political party) and have always voted for the government even in situations that I wouldn’t vote. But I also walk on the streets and I know what people demand from me.

Folha – Ricardo Teixeira has been in charge of Brazilian football for a long time. What can explain it?

Romário – This is one of the best questions I’ve heard lately. But I’m going to do it differently: answer yourself. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you this. Even if all complaints are true, we can’t disconsider his ability in bringing the World Cup to Brazil. But, unfortunately, I can’t answer why so much power for such a long time and why so many things about him come out. I swear I’d like to answer that, but I don’t know.

an ex-footballer as a politician

Folha – Did you cut off relations with Ricardo Teixeira?

Romário – I’ve never been his friend, though we’ve always had a friendly relation. I personally don’t have anything against him and I’m rooting for him to escape from the complaints against him. I want the Brazilians who regard him as an “evil” person can acknowledge him for the World Cup. But if one of the complaints is true, I can’t take my name away from the PCI. The fact of playing football doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of what’s wrong. I haven’t come to Brasília to waste my time. I gained 11 kilos in two months, I almost lost my wife, I left the things I love behind, such as playing some football, hanging out to listen to some funk (a Brazilian rhythm from Rio), drinking soda and sometimes champagne. It’s a sacrifice that I’ve made. Excuse my French, but I fucking don’t give a shit to anybody and I have the right to speak out and put things clear for those who voted in me.

Folha – Nowadays, how do you classify Brazilian football management?

Romário – Nowadays, when people talk about mafia and football – I don’t know whether it’s fortunate or unfortunate – Ricardo Teixeira’s name is always heard. Nobody is going to hear it from me because I got no proofs. But, definitely, there’s a mob in football.


Carlos Nuzman, Eduardo Paes and Ricardo Teixeira

The Brazilian way – ‘jeitinho brasileiro’ in Portuguese – is an informal way of behaving widely accepted by Brazil’s society that relies on improvisation, flexibility, creativity, intuition etc, behind unexpected or complex situations. Although it isn’t founded on procedures or techniques previously set, it is an unethical system historically adopted that makes use of emotional blackmail, family ties, bribes, promises etc, in order to benefit someone. Millions of Brazilian think that they are influential and smarter than others when they manage to apply it and they also give a high status to this way of getting things done. If it were used the most on a personal level, it wouldn’t be so harmful to the country but, since day one, it has always been a national tool used by crooked politicians and bureaucrats to the detriment of honest citizens.

Jeitinho came out once again and was named ‘Provisional Measure 527’ last June 15th. The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil agreed that there will be total secrecy on the cost of all necessary constructions and on the budgets of FIFA and of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). In other words, the Brazilian government is allowed to spend public money without giving further explanation, general contractors can charge any price they wish for their services and the Brazilian population won’t be let known anything about the expenses. Is it a steal?

Both the success and the realization of FIFA World Cup depend on the Brazilian way very much, as it’s the best way to enable a serious of tricky measures that would never be considered in a serious country. The process is already in progress and it’s a shame that Globo TV – Brazil’s most successful broadcaster – doesn’t report what’s going on. On the other hand, there’s no political willingness to deliver infrastructural improvements to the population that, in spite of paying one of the most expensives taxes on Earth, has no other way but going to miserable public hospitals, enrolling their children into a useless educational system, taking crammed means of transportation to commute and so on.

The Rio de Janeiro visitors don't see

Some English journalists affirmed that Brazil, Russia and Qatar were chosen as World Cup hosts by FIFA because they would be countries where control doesn’t exist. That seems to be true, at least in the Brazilian case.


Renato "Gaúcho" Portaluppi

Renato "Gaúcho" Portaluppi

Renato “Gaúcho” Portaluppi was a successful Brazilian footballer in the 80’s and early 90’s. He played for the Brazilian National Team and for important sides both in Brazil (Grêmio, Flamengo, Cruzeiro, among others) as well as abroad (Roma). Also, he’s been working as a coach since 1996. Undoubtedly, the status of being a famous athlete made it easier for him with all kinds of women and he is very likely to be Brazilian football’s greatest womanizer of all times.  In an interview conceded to ESPN Brasil’s magazine last April, he didn’t refuse to talk about his scoring – off the pitch, of course. Portaluppi’s most meaningful quotes follow below.

Kuyt partying in Rio after the match against Uruguay

“I always tell my players to be careful with women. I don’t obviously mean all of them, but nowadays they want a footballer or a singer to get them pregnant because they know they’ll have a good financial life” (Renato Gaúcho)

Renato Gaúcho seems to be worried about his players’ social life. He’s not the first and won’t be the last Brazilian coach to do that because footballers have been an obvious golddiggers’ target since football, in its highest level, became an excellent source of income. So, footballers (and all kinds of successful men), should be able to easily identify the woman who they are hanging out with.

"I've gotten five thousand women into bed"

"I've gotten five thousand women into bed"

“I always tell my players: ‘they (gold-digging women) want to be banged, so the footballer must get them laid’” (Renato Gaúcho)

Portaluppi doesn’t want that his players stay away from the world around them. Being able to identify the lady in front of them is important to give her the treatment she really deserves. If she happens to be a gold-digger, it’s intelligent to have her just for one night.

Many Brazilian footballers have made the mistake of leading a serious relationship with seeking for money women. The mechanism of such involvement is basically the same every time: after some period, the woman wants to get divorced in order to receive half of her ex-husband’s property. As the Brazilian law is protective of women even when they misbehave, the gold-diggers take advantage of that and guarantee a comfortable standard of living for the rest of their lives, while football players – who sometimes don’t prepare themselves for life after football – go through dire days of high expenses and low wage.

Adriano chilling out at the beach

 

“Up to now, my wife sees what goes on. When I’m with her at a restaurant, I gotta sit down in a position which nobody can see me because suddenly there’s a table with a girl showing interest to me. She realized by herself that it isn’t easy” (Renato Gaúcho)

Although many believe feminism put male and female on opposite sides, it is commonplace to see two ladies competing in whatever you might think. Decent women also suffer from gold-diggers’ attitudes and what happens to Renato’s wife while going out with her husband exemplifies it.

She is challenged even when she’s physically present, so it’s possible to infer that some women don’t care whether a footballer is married or not; they don’t care whether he is a family man or not; also, they don’t care about sharing this man with other ladies because, at the end of the day, what really matters is how much a provider has to offer.

Heitinga partying in Rio after the match against Uruguay

Both professional footballers and regular men can learn from the advices of one of the icons of Brazilian football. According to them, a man is meant to enjoy life and celebrate everything he’s gotten through his hard work without depriving himself of what he likes, but it’s fundamental to know how to differ an interesting woman from an interested one – can you do it?

Maracanazo 2014 hopes Renato Gaúcho keeps on doing a good job as a coach and congratulates him on his useful teachings and on his great career as a player.


Brazil are going to play against the Netherlands next Saturday in Goiânia. Although the Dutch players seem to be more concerned about having a good time in Rio de Janeiro instead of focusing on the friendly match, that would be a great and rare opportunity for Brazilian football fans to appreciate a high-class European national team. But the fact is that just a minority can consider going to Serra Dourada Stadium because ticket prices range from R$140 (US$ 114.00) to R$800 (US$ 507.00), which is extremely costy to the Brazilian citizen.

Brief historical overview

Football was a sport both practiced and watched only by the Brazilian elite at the beginning of the twentieth century, once that not haves and/or non-whites weren’t allowed to take part of any activity related to the game. From the twenties on, the success of non-whites players such as Arthur Friedenreich and Leonidas da Silva and the consolidation of working-class clubs like Internacional de Porto Alegre, Vasco da Gama, Atlético Mineiro and Corinthians indicated that football was getting more popular. At the same time, many believed Brazil couldn’t make it internationally due to the presence of non-white athletes, what was classified in the 50’s as ‘complexo de vira-lata’  (the mongrel complex) by the great playwright Nelson Rodrigues. At least on the pitch, the mongrel complex came to an end when Brazil lifted its first World Cup trophy after beating Sweden in the final match with the decisive contribution of players like Didi, Djalma Santos, Garrincha and Pelé, amongst others.

Brazilians became proud of their excellence in football, the best footballers were treated as idols and the big clubs were already supported by millions of fans. Consequently, grounds throughout the country were constantly overcrowded and the passion for football was already a meaningful aspect of the Brazilian culture. Hence, football could be appreciated by anyone regardless of their background.

Violence mustn’t be an excuse

Brazil’s society has always been a violent one, then it’s naïve to think that football wouldn’t be affected by what goes on in people’s day by day. Many Brazilian lawmakers, journalists and middle-class brainwashed jerks make a silly mistake while criminalizing football-related incidents as well as hooliganism because they believe the whole thing stems from poverty.

Firm members are often taken to police stations when a fight occurs, though the police let them free after a couple of hours. Likewise, corrupt politicians hardly ever are arrested when they benefit from public money. In both practical examples, criminals aren’t punished for their wrongdoing, so it’d be better to face and fight against the overspread impunity instead of just accusing the low-income folks – what is a Brazilian hobby many times.

Expensive tickets will never make the number of criminal occurrences decrease on a football match day. It only excludes the law-abiding football fans that are unable to watch the Brazilian national team and even their favorite sides for not having a high wage.

Brazil x Netherlands

Next Saturday afternoon, the average Brazilian supporter who lives nearby Goiânia will once again be obliged to watch a football match on TV due to lack of options . Who can afford to spend so much on a football ticket? How much are the World Cup tickets going to cost in 2014?

It’s a pity that the Brazilian Football Confederation shows once again that it doesn’t give a damn to the growing process of bringing elitism back to football. Also, it seems not to care about Brazilian football and about the supporters, so what are its main interests?

Maracanazo 2014 roots for a Dutch victory!




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