From our man beneath the Southern Cross comes the skinny on the impetuous Brazilian phenom Neymar and the storm he’s kick up around him. Plus, World Cup 2014 plans with a sinister undercurrent? Big thanks to Mark Gannon for keeping us all in the loop.
In the game against Atlético Goianiense in Goiás on Wednesday of last week, the coach of Santos, Dorival Júnior, wanted a different player to take a PK. Neymar had a fit, cursed out the coach, and supposedly continued his tantrum in the locker room.
Dorival did not put Neymar on the list of players for Santos’s next game, against Guarani over the weekend. But then when he refused to put Neymar on the list for yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) game against Corinthians, he was fired.
Mano decided to leave Neymar off the seleção for the two upcoming as-yet-unspecified friendlies in Europe, but made it clear that when Neymar starts getting attention for the way he plays instead of other things, he’ll be back. Mano said Neymar’s return depends only on Neymar.
It was reported that Neymar didn’t speak during a Santos practice today (after Mano’s latest list was released), and was consoled by a teammate after the other players had left.
Just to add a little extra spice, Andres Sanches, the president of Corinthians, suggested that São Paulo FC was somehow involved in Dorival’s removal, because SPFC wanted to hire Dorival. I’m not sure what SPFC could do to force the ouster of a coach at Santos, but this should generate some interesting talk. It’s a shame I missed the lunchtime soccer discussion show on TV BAND and the late-lunchtime sports show on Globo today.
It’s interesting to me that Andres dislikes SPFC so much. The traditional arch-rival of Corinthians has been Palmeiras, but Andres seems to have some kind of “thing” with São Paulo. He was involved in making sure SPFC’s stadium wouldn’t be used for the World Cup, especially the opening ceremonies. The last I heard is that Palmeiras’s new stadium, on which construction has just begun, will be one World Cup venue and Corinthians’s new stadium, on which construction has not yet even started, will be another.
There has been talk about changing the Corinthians stadium (“o Fielzão”) to give it enough seats to host the opening ceremony. I’m not sure where the CBF currently says it intends to have the opening ceremony. It might end up being somewhere other than São Paulo, which would be a shame. I’m still not in favor of holding the final in the Maracanã, but I don’t think any other stadium was even really considered. I’ll be willing to let it slide if one condition is met: if Brazil is not champ in 2014 with the final in Rio, no carioca can ever again be in the CBF.