When Kaká was unstoppable and ran past the World

By Andrew Misra

The date is Thursday 8th March 2007. It’s three minutes into extra-time in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the San Siro after 180 minutes of hard-fought stalemate.

Celtic midfielder Evander Sno squanders possession and the opposition swiftly launch a counter attack.  A 25-year-old Brazilian lurking just inside his own half senses an opportunity. Italian midfielder Massimo Ambrosini dutifully passes the ball towards the number 22 in the famous red and black stripes of the Rossoneri.

The ball bobbles into the playmaker at pace. His first touch cushions the ball into his path, allowing him to swivel and shrug Neil Lennon to the floor as the Northern Irishman forlornly attempts a challenge. A second touch sees the attacker gallop through the centre circle, accelerating in his own inimitable way.

Three more touches see him surge towards the last defender, the fourth takes him one-on-one with the keeper Artur Boruc. Seemingly impassable over the two legs, the Pole is powerless as the final, decisive Continue reading “When Kaká was unstoppable and ran past the World”

Advent Day 2 – Cafu, the man with two hearts

By Andrew Misra

‘Day 2 – Cafu’ has such a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why he wore the number 2 in the first place…

As is often the case with Brazilian players, Cafu isn’t his real name. Born in 1970 as Marcos Evangelista de Morais in the Itaquaquecetuba municipality in the state of São Paulo, you could forgive him for shortening his name to avoid the kind of tongue-twisting that this sentence has inflicted. The nickname is derived from Cafuringa, a former Brazilian right winger.

Continue reading “Advent Day 2 – Cafu, the man with two hearts”

The legacy of Aldyr Schlee, designer of the iconic Brazil shirt

By Kieran Ahuja 

Believe it or not, Brazil haven’t always been the world beaters we know them to be in the 21st century. Back in the 1950’s, there was a national identity crisis when the country lost to their continental neighbours Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup. Brazil hosted the tournament, the first held since 1938 due to World War II. After a convincing qualifying campaign and two high-scoring victories in the final round (7-1 against Sweden and 6-1 against Spain), Brazil went to the final convinced of their imminent victory; newspapers had already printed headlines declaring Brazil’s World Cup win.

Continue reading “The legacy of Aldyr Schlee, designer of the iconic Brazil shirt”

Ballon d’Or: treasured more in South America than Europe?

By Andrew Misra

“Gooooooooooaaaaaallllll”. Not just the introduction to Alan Partridge’s 1994 World Cup Countdown, but a shortened version of a noise regularly heard on South American television, radio and inside bars. Colombian commentator Javier Fernandez Franco, tunefully nicknamed the “Goal Singer”, unleashed a 37-second outcry of this after Carlos Bacca scored in the 2016 Copa America third-place playoff. Bacca’s effort wasn’t extraordinary either, rather it was scruffily turned in, bouncing over the line.

Continue reading “Ballon d’Or: treasured more in South America than Europe?”