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Archives for July 2009

Spanning the South American age spectrum

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Tim Vickery | 07:23 UK time, Monday, 27 July 2009

It's not often that Bolivian football makes headlines all over the world, but that's what happened last week after a player made his first division debut a few days before his 13th birthday.

Mauricio Baldivieso came off the bench for the last few minutes of Aurora's match against La Paz. He had made a shrewd choice of father - Julio Cesar Baldivieso is not only one of the recent greats of the Bolivian game, he was also Aurora's coach. But not any more.

Exposing a pre-adolescent to the senior game brought so much criticism that the Aurora directors told Baldivieso senior not to field his son again - so he resigned.

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Seba Veron, an heir to Cerezo

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Tim Vickery | 11:14 UK time, Monday, 20 July 2009

A couple of decades ago when I worked in the West End of London, I used to frequent a little Italian café, sadly no longer in existence, so I could watch the Serie A on their satellite TV.

The main draw for me was a Brazilian midfielder called Toninho Cerezo. One of his compatriots once ingeniously described Cerezo as having the appearance of two little men, one on top of the other, both trying to run in different directions. He could indeed look a little ungainly. But few players have ever run a midfield with so much elegance.

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Gomes sets sights on World Cup

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Tim Vickery | 08:30 UK time, Monday, 13 July 2009

Last week I was on a Brazilian TV programme that was covering the build up to the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Cruzeiro against Estudiantes of Argentina (which, incidentally, finished 0-0 - second leg on Wednesday).

Also appearing on the show was Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, who made his name with Cruzeiro earlier this decade. He was asked about his childhood idols - and named one of his predecessors in the club's goal, Dida.

The interesting thing here is that Dida joined Cruzeiro in 1994, by which time Gomes was already 13, but he could hardly have named anyone earlier - he didn't see them because he doesn't come from Belo Horizonte, the city where Cruzeiro are based, but from the countryside some 200 miles away.

His childhood was rustic and basic, with no access to mod cons like television but this young man from a rural backwater has had the course of his life not so much altered as yanked and sent hurtling on a path that he could never have imagined as a child - all because he has the talent, dedication and character to be a top class goalkeeper.

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Copa Libertadores deserves golden final

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Tim Vickery | 08:30 UK time, Monday, 6 July 2009

The 50th Copa Libertadores has not been a vintage edition.

South America's premier club competition deserves better than some of the mediocre football that has been on show, especially in this anniversary year.

Perhaps the final can come to the rescue. To be played over two legs on 8 and 15 July, there are grounds for hoping that Estudiantes versus Cruzeiro will live in the memory for positive reasons.

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