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Iron fist coaches consigned to history

Tim Vickery | 08:14 UK time, Monday, 9 March 2009

I came across a wonderful story this week in an interview in the magazine Brasileiros with Sao Paulo coach and former player Muricy Ramalho.

He recalled the start of his career in the early 70s when the club's coach was Jose Poy, an Argentine who had spent over a decade as Sao Paulo's goalkeeper. Poy was a hard man and the thing most guaranteed to put him in a bad temper was players splashing money on cars before they had got themselves established by first buying a house.

Serginho Chulapa, a good club centre-forward who was to prove sadly out of his depth in the 1982 World Cup, turned up for training one day while still a youngster in the Brazilian-made version of the Volkswagen Beetle.

As the player had yet to buy a house, Poy was furious and ordered him to sell the car. Serginho was physically imposing prospect and had a fierce temper of his own - he later missed the 1978 World Cup after picking up a lengthy ban for hospitalising a linesman - but he was so scared of Poy that he told the coach he had sold it.

After that he drove it close to the training ground and then walked the rest of the way, only showing off the high-prestige car again when he had at last got round to buying a house.Serginho playing at the 1982 World Cup

Some two decades later Sao Paulo were coached by the legendary Tele Santana, another one of the old school who despised displays of conspicuous consumption.

By this time Brazil's economy had opened up a bit, and, at a huge price, imported cars were available. Striker Macedo bought one, but according to Ramalho, Santana forced him to get rid of it immediately.

Times have changed. These days the balance of power is with the players, rather than the coaches. The players have freedom of contract, the global market has opened up and the potential rewards from the game are greater than ever before.

After two years of top-class football a player can be financially set up for life. Well before this he can buy any car he wants and no one is going to stop him. But this has come at a price because if the rewards are greater, then so are the sacrifices.

According to Moracy Sant'anna, one of Brazil's most respected physical preparation specialists, in the mid-70s it was generally true that players were covering around 5,000 metres per game. By the mid-90s that figure had doubled, and now some are even reaching 12,000.

So the physical intensity of the game is greater than ever before, and with the growth of the Champions League and the crowded modern calendar there is no respite. It is match after match, physical challenge after physical challenge.

This twin dynamic - greater rewards, greater sacrifices - helps explain why we are seeing so much inconsistency at the elite level of the game.

Is a player physically capable of delivering week in, week out? Does he have sufficient motivation to put up with all the sacrifices? The latter question is especially pertinent since his bank balance puts every conceivable temptation well within his grasp.

It is a narrow line he has to walk. Does he have the psychological structure to deal with all the conflicting pulls and pressures?

Complicating the picture still further is another dynamic, the one which has been hard at work in the cities of the Third World, breeding ground for so many stars of the global game.

In his book Planet of Slums, Mike Davis comments that "policies of agricultural deregulation and financial discipline enforced by the IMF and World Bank continued to generate an exodus of surplus rural labour to urban slums even as cities ceased to be job machines... Overurbanisation is driven by the reproduction of poverty, not by the supply of jobs."

He points out that in the 1980s there was a tendency for government to scale back its activities, and in a difficult economic climate, those at the bottom suffered most, as infrastructure lost the race with population increase.

This was the world that Adriano was born into in 1982. He comes from Vila Cruzeiro, a Rio favela that attracted worldwide headlines in 2002 as a consequence of the gruesome death of TV Globo journalist Tim Lopes.

The retreat of the state left a power vacuum that was filled by the drug trade. Lopes was investigating the drug business in Vila Cruzeiro when he was captured, 'judged' tortured, killed and cut in pieces.

Adriano's father, Almir, was a victim of violence in the neighbourhood. In 1992 he was caught in a shoot out, and had a bullet lodged in his skull, which may have been a contributory factor to his sudden death in 2004.

Losing his father, as Adriano told me last year in an interview for Sports Illustrated, had a delayed but devastating effect on his career. Pleasing his father had always been one of his driving forces to succeed in football.

Now he even considered the idea of giving up the game. With little motivation and lots of temptations, he was filling the void with alcohol.

For a while his career was in the balance. There may be the odd slip along the way, but he says now that he can accept that his father is no longer around, that he has learnt from his excesses, and that happiness lies in simple pleasures - like kicking a football.

On form and focused, Adriano is an improved version of Serginho Chulapa - big and powerful, with a howitzer left foot, but subtle with it. He would not have been disgraced playing in front of that magnificent midfield that Brazil had in 1982, and represents a real threat to Manchester United's Champions League ambitions.

Comments on this piece in the space provided. Other questions on South American football to, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag:

Being an Everton fan, I remember a Brazilian midfielder we had on loan from Botafogo several years back by the name of Rodrigo. Unfortunately his time with us was plagued by injury and I believe he only played a handful of games. I was wondering what ever became of him. Did he move elsewhere in Europe, what is he up to now and was he ever any good? Any information you may have would be great - my searches have not yielded much.
John Horne

It's a real shame he suffered that injury. He was a good player and a bright bloke who was loving his time at Everton and with more luck might have made an impression playing as a kind of left footed version of David Beckham. The injury effectively ended his top class career - he went back to Brazilian football and bounced around from club to club, attracting comparisons with Beckham more for his looks than his football.

He never really regained fitness, looked well overweight and was unable to reach anything like the standard he set at Botafogo. I think he lost motivation - he's from a wealthy background, and didn't need to make money from the game, and there was also a problem with his wife's health. I last remember him a year ago playing for a minor Rio team called Boavista.


  • Comment number 1.

    I've always loved Adriano, powerful and skillful, a combination that at the very least tend to provide entertaining performances.

    Hopefully he's stablised his life and returned to form in time to rejuvenate his career, he certainly has years to spare however I do wonder whether he's at the right team?

    I've always felt Adriano, like Ronaldo and Romario are players who thrive on being the star of the show. This is sometimes percieved as being pure egotism in players but I feel certain players merely require a mental 'stick' to provoke the kind of match winning performances that turn strikers into heroes. Just like a salesman who needs to sell more than his work colleagues to thrive and feel like he's 'getting the job done'.

    It's hard to see how Adriano will thrive consistently at a club that has a clearly defined No.1 centre forward in Ibrahimovic. Equally Inter always seem to have a large squad with a high number of strikers in the payroll which can only in the long run further limit his chance.

    You see the same I think with Carlos Tevez, the man is a potential match winner and despite adjusting to the English game flawlessly and seeming to be personally happy at United one feels a move to a club where he can be the star will only aid his career.

    Nine of this is a reflection on the person, Tevez doesn't seem to court the media spotlight and I don't know about Adriano but one thing stirkers always feast on is regular goals and to get them you need to be playing week in week out.

  • Comment number 2.


    I'm from the 10,000-12,000 metres per game generation and I was wondering which you found more entertaining/exciting in general - the fast or slower paced game?

    I watched the Madrid derby at the weekend - the pace was incredible and despite at times lacking quality it was an exciting game of which I don't feel a skilful, slower game would have beaten for entertainment.

  • Comment number 3.


    I've been catching up with your blog since the beginning of the last year, and I consider the current article the best I've read of yours.


  • Comment number 4.


    Great column as per usual.

    I read in the paper today that Man Utd are interested in signing a young Brazilian by the name of Walter - i believe he plays for Internacional

    Can you tell me anything about him?


  • Comment number 5.

    Great piece Tim

    The balance between motivation and wealth in footballers has always facinated me.

    People often use the old stereotype that modern footballers and greedy, indisiplined and workshy but that simply isn't the case. Take somebody like Wayne Rooney. He could have retired aged 20 and lived like a king for rest of his life. He doesn't because he is ambitious and motivated to win trophies. Synics will say that he just wants to get richer and richer and that is why he still plays but is this really the case? Does his life really improve with the more money he earns? There gets to a point when surely it doesn't and a players plays for the enjoyment and motivation to win.

  • Comment number 6.

    Tim this is terrific. Quoting from Mike Davis, don't get that too often on football blogs! (although didn't Robbo Robson do a bit from Late Victorian Holocausts last week..)

  • Comment number 7.

    Tim running on from this (or perhaps sideways) I´d love to read something about the financial reality of Brazilian (or South American in general) football. It seems a mass of contradictions - there is hardly a club that is not mired in enormous debt (Santa Cruz here in Recife are r$50,000,000 in debt with seemingly little hope of ever getting out of it - though people tell me debt is a standard operating procedure for big business these days), and regularly (if that´s the word) pay their employees and players late if at all, which of course has a massively demoralising effect on team performance. Yet on the other hand and contrary to popular myth player and coach salaries at the top level (and even below) are enormous - I have just read that Rene Simoes was getting r$220,000 a month (or I´m presuming its per month - salaries in Brazil are usually quoted monthly) at Fluminense, which works out at about 66,000 GBP a month (nothing against Rene, just a random example).


  • Comment number 8.

    Great blog again Vickery.

    I must disagree with your thoughts on Adriano being a big threat to Man Utd in the Champions League. Every time I watch him his performances leave a lot to be desired.

    He seems to have lost his killer instinct in front of goal and you still must question his desire despite him claiming he has put his problems behind him.

    I think one Brazilian that will cause Man Utd problems though is Maicon and his delivery into the box.

  • Comment number 9.

    An outstanding article as always, Mr. Vickery. Many thanks.

    It would be great to see Adriano return to his former greatness; however I can't help feeling that he will end up going the same way as Ronaldo has done over the last four or five years.

  • Comment number 10.

    I was watching a documentary about Pele and Garrincha and the contrasts between their personalities and careers the other day. It occurred to me that more and more of the Brazilian players we see on TV or read about in the papers are described as middle class, the sons of doctors, engineers etc.

    I suppose it makes sense. Consider the differences in diet for example between the children brought up in the favelas and the suburbs and the advantage this gives the rich in terms of physical development. This is probably especially relevant when allied with Tim's oft-repeated observation that Brazil have for some time favoured big, strong players in a bid to match European teams physically.

    Furthermore, the children in the slums will be far more susceptible to illness and / or injury likely to halt a promising career before it even begins. There are also the temptations of drink, drugs and crime to negotiate.

    Perhaps it is inevitable that we will see more and more Leonardos and less and less Romarios.

  • Comment number 11.

    # 5

    I understand what you are saying but using Rooney as your argument is a bit one sided.. Rooney is a one off who simply loves to play football..

    Take someone like Harry Kewell or even Mark Viduka.. these guys both have a certain degree of talent and like many others in football are vastly over paid.. I think Kewell's commitment to the game was questioned by Raga at Liverpool when he asked the question about his amount of injuries..

    I would like to see a pay scale like a lot of the German clubs use.. based on performance.. Basic wage which is then heavily subsidised with add on bonuses.. before the whole football market goes daft.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Tim,

    I'm new to your blog but really enjoy your articles, and can relate to them in a small way after travelling through South America a couple of years ago and and learning more about the cultures of this amazing continent and the love and resect they have for their favourite past-time ( football)..

    2 questions I have, first about Martin Palermo, who I considered to be a good, strong and typical old-fashioned centre forward.. Why didn't any premier league teams fancy taking him on? He had all the attributes and could certainly handle himself and score vital goals..

    Finally why don't English teams play pre-season games in Brazil or Argentina? They have a huge fanbase in these countries and the local people would love seeing their heroes.. any chance this could happen in the future?.. is too much of a security concern because of the violence associated with Latin footall?


  • Comment number 13.

    Wasn't Serginho misunderstood in his role in the 82 World Cup? He was ahead of his time. A strikers role nowadays is not principally about scoring, but bringing players into play, link up, hold up and adding balance.

    OK, he may have been worse than other such tall strikers like Heskey or Adriano but he had his good points at least and I think that's what the manager wanted to bring to the Brasil side.

    One more thing. I didn't used to watch the Argentinian game much but apparently I was told that tackles were very physical. Is this true or was I led along the wrong path? It's not like that now is it?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hey to all. i know this blog is about S.American football and I'm sure someone as committed to football as Tim wouldn't mind me plugging my own blog about Turkish football. If you're interested in Turkish football and would like to learn more about it visit the blog on the link below:

    The first few editions will be dedicated to the national team's performance in the EUROs and the stories behind the astonishing comebacks.

    Also if you'd like to talk football with fans from all over the globe, the following link will take you to a great community of knowledgeable football fans.

    hope everyone is well.

  • Comment number 15.

    An excellent article, Tim.

    I hope this does not catch on: you can see Motty commenting that GDP per annum in Cote d'Ivoire is x per cent lower than in Senegal, therefore Camara is going to get to the ball ahead of Drogba.

    It does add another twist to the old cliche that you can get the boy out of the ghetto, buy you cannot get the ghetto out of the boy.

  • Comment number 16.

    #12 The reason English clubs don't tour South America is nothing to do with violence and everything to do with money. A tour to Asia or America pays more $$$s.

    An interesting article, I won't deny the influence of background, but I've always felt the ultimate responsibility lies within the person.

    A football bad-boy might have his background as a handy excuse. A football good-guy claims that remembering his roots helps to keep him grounded.

    Argentina, like many other countries, is full of players from the lowest classes, classes below those that even exist in a country like England. Some are wonderful professionals, some aren't.

  • Comment number 17.


    At face value your explanation as to why Premiership teams don’t do pre-season tours in South America seems plausible but when you think about it the lack of money doesn’t really make sense.

    Teams like Man Utd and Chelsea undoubtedly make more cash from a tour of Asia and America and accordingly they tour there more often. But this season Man Utd did their pre-season tour in South Africa, I don’t think South Africa’s GDP and on the ground wealth is appreciably higher than Brazil or Argentina so whilst United may tour Japan and America more often, the fact top premiership clubs never tour South America has little to do with cash. Equally, even if the top 4 felt South America wasn’t lucrative enough for pre-season then mid-table teams certainly would, especially if their team contains noted South American names. Teams like Middlesborough don't have huge worldwide following, they're likely to make far more from a South American tour than a Norwegian one.

    The reason is far more simple I suspect; England’s pre-season is South America’s mid season, it’s hard to see how all the hullabaloo that would accompany a Premiership club tour and the mechanics of fitting 1-3 games into an existing league and cup schedule would be prohibitive.

  • Comment number 18.

    #16 and #17.

    I've lived in South Afica for many years and football there isn't a mulit-million dollar game.. poor leagues and average players etc.. So when Man utd play Orlando Pirates or Kaiser Chiefs (which they have in the past) I don't think money would be the number 1 object...more spreading the game worldwide yes and increasing fan base..

    I can see the point that English, Argentinian and Brazilian leagues start at different times.. so arranging friendlies difficult..but seeing a Man Utd or Chelsea playing Boca Juniors/River Plate or Sao Paulo would be hell of a lot more exiting than the usual dull Amsterdam tournaments etc..

  • Comment number 19.

    An interesting article Tim Vickery. As an Inter Milan fan i am pleased that Adriano is showing signs this season of returning to the player that he once was. I think that is partly down to his change in attitude and behaviour, and also down to the faith that we have placed in him, whereas a number of other teams would not have kept up the same level of faith and patience and may probably have sold him. I think a change of managment has also helped his progress as he seems to have a far better rapport with Mourinho than he did with Mancini who showed all the signs that Adriano was a lost cause.

    One thing that i would like to point out about your latest article above is that you used an arguably politically incorrect term when you used the term "third world" as such a term implies that such countires that you are referring to are not on an equal playing field, are on a different level and are lesser than countries referred to has "first or second world".

  • Comment number 20.

    The question is, who's going to sign Neymar?

  • Comment number 21.


  • Comment number 22.

    Did you see Ronaldo's goal yesterday for Corinthians? Even though he's lost his pace like at Milan he can still score, do you think theres any chance of him being included in the squad for the Confederations CUp?

    2) How much do you rate Carlos Vela? And have you watched him play for Arsenal, he really is an exquisite finisher

    3) The U-17 South American Championships are starting next month and it should be very good. WHo should we look out for? Lets hope we find the new Messi or Pato

  • Comment number 23.

    "One thing that i would like to point out about your latest article above is that you used an arguably politically incorrect term when you used the term "third world" as such a term implies that such countires that you are referring to are not on an equal playing field, are on a different level and are lesser than countries referred to has "first or second world"."

    It's actually the old world, new world and then third world from european empire building really. It's not PI at all it's just a term used to describe how europeans looked at the world and it's stuck.

    I think mourinho has a huge part to play in the rejuvenation of adriano, he knows how to deal with a big ego (drogba is the sam sort of mould) but also how to help them and focus them. Very good man manager is just what he needed as mancini i think just expected them to act without guidance which is unrealistic

  • Comment number 24.

    Good, thoughtful blog, but....

    Can we stop the nonsense about how far footballers run? 10,000m is just over 6 miles, in 90 mins. That is 110m/120yards in a minute. Most averagely fit adults can walk that fast.

    Granted, footballers sprint and stop a lot. But they rarely sprint for more than 60m, then they get a rest. OK they also twist, turn, spin etc, which is tiring. Then they get a rest.

    So why the fixation on distance? Is it because it is easy to measure, so it is quoted, and then misinterpreted?

    If footballers are so tired how come they can always run a silly distance to celebrate a goal, or complain to the ref?

    Some perspective, a good level of performance at 3000m running for a 17 year old at a schools county athletic championship is about 10min 50sec.

    You think that is an unreasonable comparison?

    That's the quoted time for girls....

  • Comment number 25.

    Slimshady1989 - I'll be checking your blog out mate, I recently had a bet on a Turkish match and my friend unbelievably predicted Jaba would get 2 for Ankaragucu. How do you rate him? I believe he's Brazilian but, other than that match, haven't heard anything of him.

  • Comment number 26.

    #17 and #18

    the dates of the english season present no problems whatsoever to an argentine tour. With 12 premier league teams in the city logistics would present no problem either.
    The argentine league starts mid-august which would tie in well.
    In fact Boca have just signed up for a tournament in munich this year with United, Bayern and Milan. last year they played the Copa Gamper in Barcelona.

    tours to norway are not done as money-spinners, they are warm-up excercises. tours to asia are the lucrative ones with $million appearance fees. that kind of figure is absolutely impossible in argentina where the ticket price is £6 and tv appearance fees are so much smaller (my club receives £2000 for a televised home game!).


    i cant speak for brazil but in argentina, which isnt strangled by political-correctness, the term third-world is very common, and often used (slightly self-mockingly) to describe even ourselves.

  • Comment number 27.

    I never knew that about Adriano, I feel sorry for him, but then again his career is back on track, he's in the money whereas i'm a student and I struggle with money and my future lies in my own hands as my parents probably can't afford for me to bum around!

    Anyway, United are linked with a £4m Argentine Nicolas Bertolo, at 23 years of age I know it's odd for me to say so but he seems a bit too old compared to other South Americans that have moved from their country, like Anderson to Porto, Lucas to Liverpool, Aguero to A.Madrid. What's his story and what can he offer as a player?

    Mike, Manchester.

  • Comment number 28.

    As usual, great article Tim.

    SugarDunkerton (post 11) - I think you're wrong to disagree with post 5 about Rooney being a one off. Rooney is a gem of a player, with sublime ability combined with great attitude.

    Now whilst Rooney's ability is rarely rivalled, I have to say that after 20 years of going to Old Trafford religiously I have seen a constant stream of players, of all backgrounds and nationalities, with exactly the same hunger as Rooney. Evra, Vidic, Ronaldo, Van der Sar, Carrick, Neville, Giggs, Scholes, and Tevez for a (current) start. And look at the differences in their backgrounds!

    Brazilian footballers are not increasingly going to come from rich backgrounds rather than poor. They will continue to be a mix, because no application of broad social trends has ever held true in football. The last World Cup in Brazil saw a bunch of Englishmen drink themselves silly beyond Ashley Cole's imagination... and that was in 1950, and the next day England lost to the USA amateurs. Yet if we listen to most older commentators in England, football is going to the dogs now because players don't care any more. Well, can anyone imagine Owen Hargreaves being too drunk to play a group game at the 2010 World Cup? No.

    Basically the game changes, but society doesn't. There's good ones and bad ones in any country, in any era. I don't feel much sympathy for Adriano - yes, his father died, but he still had a job to do. When my father died aged just 49 I didn't get drunk & fat for a few years and leave my company in the lurch, because I had integrity.

  • Comment number 29.


    Not sure i agree with you on the comparison as a runner doesn't have any restrictions and all they do is run so of course they will be better at it. Stick a ball at their feet and see how fast they go and what their times are.

    Footballers have limited space to move in as the have formations to be a part of, i imagine cafu and carlos covered a greater distance than stated it is just a general. I mean makelele was hardly going to cover a great distance as it wasn't his job. I think Tim was more drawing a comparison of the comparitive distances covered by players from the past and now.

  • Comment number 30.

    @24 - I think Tim was trying to use it in relative terms rather than actual terms.

    It doesn't matter how far they used to run or run now, all that matters is that they run twice as much as before - surely that means the physical requirements for the game are higher.

  • Comment number 31.

    tim, i am in Brazil at the moment and have been watching alot of football. I am disappointed at the quality in the top games, demonstrated i feel by the impact made by Ronaldo when he came on. He looked a different level to everyone else on the pitch but wouldn´t get in to any CL teams. Is there an ongoing decline in quality due to the exodus to europe or am i just unlucky in the games i´m choosing to watch?
    I do like the spray used though for free kicks. where the referee draws a circle for the ball and a line for the wall. how soon do you think we will see this in europe?

  • Comment number 32.

    Mr. Vickery your blog is always excellent as usual. I would like it very much if you could expound on the current crisis in Mexico and how it affects the game there. Without a doubt economic hardship such as these are compounding life at every level in the world.

  • Comment number 33.


    Most of the running in football is done without the ball.

  • Comment number 34.


    One of the reasons why big euro clubs don't tour in South America is indeed money, but it's not the only one.

    In other emergent countries like South Africa, club football is not so strong as in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, etc, where clubs have millions of fans who don't necessarily follow Euro football.

    Therefore, in emergent countries from other continents than South America, big Euro clubs may find a big mass of football fans who may be available to begin to support Euro clubs, which wouldn't happen in South America.

  • Comment number 35.


    The reference to the distance covered in this blog is totally relevant to the context. I don't think that you understand football given your comments and your cynicism.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm not going to get involved in the debates about the whole Pro Zone distance covered analysis.

    I just love the factoid that in a recent match Pro Zone showed that Dimitar Berbatov only ran about 2.5 kilometres! This seems exceptionally lazy when measured against the average of about 10km discussed above.

    Especially when the rumour has it that Petr Cech covered more than three in the same match!

  • Comment number 37.

    Mr Vickery - I have waited long enough and can no longer stay polarise football fans more than any other journalist I have ever known:-

    On one side there are those who want you back in the UK giving us the sort of insightful, considered, directed and PATIENT approach to journalism and sports reporting that so often lacks in so many mediums in the UK and with regards to football...

    And then again, most that read your column are all too aware that you love your job so much and to take you away from S.America would ruin our developing education on the sport in that part of the world and deprive you of the job you enjoy (and make many of us envious of having).

    I've been reading your columns for a while and see similar praise in your comments sections - but I've kept my mouth shut long enough - time for praise where it's due.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say your style of writing, enthusiasm and clearly researched pieces - although similiar to my own style, albeit in a professional manner of course - make me want to be a journalist!

    I do hope that one day you might come back to blighty and straighten out a few journalists here - although there are journalists of quality and radio commentary by regular staff (and not their guests i.e the likse of David Pleat!!!) are still pretty good.

    Keep this up Tim - it genuinely is a pleasure to see a new article pop up on the BBC Football website with your name on it - and I hope your bosses are aware of the consistently high quaility, informative and compassionate reporting you gift us with.

    Having spent some time in Rio myself I am aware there is a mystical/unexplicable love that can develop for that part of the world with very little encouragement and at frightening pace - it is a beatufil part of the world filled with some paradoxically painful/ugly truths.

    Right - back to my Tuesday morning at work - but I feel better for getting that off my chest!

    Viva la Vickery!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    As usual a well researched piece by Tim. Thanks for the effort.

    The twin dynamic - greater rewards, greater sacrifices is indeed becoming a thing of the past.

    Iron fist coaches were in demand when clubs and sponsors were tight-fisted. Not anymore.

    With rival clubs within the country, on the continent and even beyond the continent vying for the services of the top players, football business has changed altogether. Globalization does not encourage anyone to carry on with an iron fist or a tight fist.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Tim

    Great stuff again.

    I was wondering if I could get your advice, I've recently read Garrincha’s autobiography by Ruy Castro & Futebol by Alex Bellos both of which I thought were great reads in their different ways and was wondering if you could tell me which books on South American football you hold in high regard?
    Also have you ever thought of writing a book on South American football yourself?


    El Diablo

  • Comment number 40.

    That Adriano story, plus the bit on the physical demands, put it all in perspective.

    Many's the time I have derided him as useless or lazy. Us fans expect the earth every 90 minutes and if they don't deliver they are castigated. It's a ruthless business!

  • Comment number 41.

    Dr Cajetan Coelho

    Your comments regarding iron fisted-ness are thought provoking. In fact there is still a place for the iron fisted coach if this is combined with a high level of intelligence and street-wisdom. The best coaches in the English Premier League have this combination: look at Sir Alex Ferguson, Mourinho (formerly EPL), David Moyes, even Benitez and Wenger.

    We can include from further afield the great Dutch and Italian coaches, Cruyff, Hiddink, Capello, Sacchi, etc.

    I think one of the main challenges these days is in dealing with big egos and handling the gradual shift of power to the players.

  • Comment number 42.

    El Diablo (39)

    recommended itmany times, and have pleasure in doing so once more - The Ball is Round by David Goldblatt - a global history of football. Does South America very well, with the added bonus that the rest of the world is there too!

    PS - do you think you deserved that red card v Germany in 94?

  • Comment number 43.

    Many thanks Tim, I'll look into that one.

    About the red card, the heat gets to us all I'm afraid as big Jack & Aldo will testify!


  • Comment number 44.

    Hmm, I never have anything to add to your great stories Tim, but your last paragraph got me thinking.

    Having seen Serginho Chulapa playing in his heydays , I would never compare him with Adriano.

    Adriano's problems are psychological whereas Chulapa had a hell of a strong personality in and out of the field. Okay, they are both great and talented forwards, but I wouldn't say they have similar styles.

    Chulapa was very prolific and consistent. But his behaviour was always on the headlines, he was some sort of a Patrick Vieira playing up front. Quite a bully really, always messing around, was sent off lots of time, mainly when he didn't want to play the next game because it was too far away from home. No one was ever able curb him, not even Tele Santana. He was a player with a mind of his own, not like most of the football players with a celeriac in the head instead of a brain. Close to him, Adriano is quite angelical.

    Quite rightly, he was essentially a club player and never performed brilliantly with the yellow shirt. But neither have Adriano so far...

    I love your blog by the way.

  • Comment number 45.

    many thanks (44), but I think you're being a bit harsh on Adriano's international record - 27 goals in 44 matches - nt bad at all, especially as very few of those goals came in frendlies.

    The first person I saw make the Adriano/Segrinho comparison was Emerson Leao back in 2000, when he was national team coach and called Adriano up for the first time.

  • Comment number 46.

    It all comes down to "secondary drives" and Intrinsic or extrinsic motivations.. "Primary drives" including hunger, thirst and sex, secondary drives vary from person to person careers success for status or purely for wealth etc.
    Intrinsic motivation is where the rewards are provided by the activity itself, i would say Ryan Giggs is a perfect example of this. Pierre Van Hoijdonk (spelling?) would be, in my opinion, extrinsically motivated- the rewards coming as a CONSEQUENCE of the activity. In other words i think Pierre V H is a greedy, money-grabbing w*nk*r

  • Comment number 47.

    4- Giggs Chest Wig

    I can tell you about Internacional's Walter.

    He is a powerfully built 19 year old striker and has recently returned back to Internacional following a very successful U20 South America championship.

    Walter was not only part of the Brazil team which won the competition but also finished as competition's joint top scorer with five goals.

    Walter made his first senior appearance for Internacional last year and despite the hype surrounding him, he is yet to really establish himself as a first team regular.

    On return from the U20 duty with Brazil, his opportunities have been somewhat limited with Inter preferring to play two very fast strikers rather than Walter's physical prowess.

    He has only made two starts so far this season and if I'm being completely honest, he hasn't particularly impressed. I think he may already be beginning to feel pressure to perform in his limited opportunities.

    In saying that, his ability and potential is clear to see. He has excellent technique, can strike the ball superbly well from distance and can finish with both feet so it's understandable he's being picked up by European scouts.

    As you know, Man Utd are no strangers to recruiting young Brazilians having already acquired former Internacional player Rodrigo Possebom and of course Fabio and Rafael.

    Providing Walter is eligible for a UK employment permit, he could well be destined for a move to Man Utd despite his young age.

    For more info, news and highlights about Walter's club Internacional (in English) visit


  • Comment number 48.


    Further to your comment's on Rodrigo, wasn't he voted Botafago's Greatest player of the 1990s? I was so excited when he arrived at Everton, shame it never worked out for him.

  • Comment number 49.

    Tim, as an avid reader of your columns I have noticed that on several occasions you have stated a case in support of Brazilian goalkeepers, and pointed out that there are several who now play for some of Europe's top clubs. I accept that keepers such as Inter's Julio Cesar truly are top class.

    I must suggest however that Roma's Doni is NOT such a keeper. I feel that he is a real weak link in the Roma side. Having watched Roma narrowly lose the Scudetto to Inter a couple of seasons ago (the lack of live coverage in the UK has not let me see much since) I was amazed at the number of sloppy goals he seemed to concede, which resulted in several dropped points.

    Watching Roma against Arsenal in midweek only served to re-inforce this opinion I'm afraid. His attempts in the penalty shoot out in particular were little short of pathetic. What is your opinion of him? Do you feel he is a case for or against your argument?

  • Comment number 50.

    Tim Ihave long admired Adriano since I saw the Emperor in the 2005 Confederations Cup he was awesome.I had the pleasure of seeing him in the flesh in 2007 Emirates Trophy at Arsenal [Brazilian football team consider it 2nd home] so much talent,I remember you saying onWFPI he is looking for that Father figure to guide him and I said Mr Wenger would take him on loan we need a finisher. Arsenal should have beaten Roma 3-0 at the Emirates dominated enough of the game.Interested in Ferry Arab comments about Roma's goalie Doni.more of a point the other Brazilians in the team.Very impressed with Rodrigo Taddei made the goal for Juan another Brazilian and set up Baptisto's howler of a miss.
    Why is Taddei not in Brazilian squad Tim? Like Ferry Arab I miss live Italian football Channel 4 coverage was excelllent.Although BBC 3 had live coverage of Milan Derby Adriano's goal possibly armball?
    Yesderday I learned the great Juan Roman Requelme was retiring from International football and the reason, artistic difficulties with coach Maradonna. Winning 2 friendlies is one thing but they have 2 tricky WCQ at the ens of March he is the gel in a team the best no 10. Messi and Auguero are very good but in my opinion need Requelme.He left after Germany 2006 will he make another comeback I dont know certainly not with Maradonna in charge of Argentinian squad. I am a big Boca fan he certainly was a factor in them wininng the Championship.Does Tim think he will be missed?


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