Guardian Football’s World XI

October 25, 2010 — by Suman

Guardian Football has been doing a “World XI” series over the last couple weeks: “To mark Diego Maradona’s 50th and Pelé’s 70th birthdays, Guardian writers and readers set out to choose the greatest football team of all time.”

Here is the side chosen by the Guardian readership:

Guardian Football's readers' World XI

The odd man in is of course Steven Gerrard:

Looking at this World XI one name will immediately jump out at you: Steven Gerrard. He’s good, but is he really that good? The rest of the World XI is probably, give or take a personal favourite or two, the team most people would eventually choose. But how did Gerrard make it into the middle?

Click thru on the image to read all about it.


Neymar Drama Ends

August 19, 2010 — by Sean

From Globo and the Federative Republic of Brazil, we bring you what should be the end of the Neymar transfer shimmy. Once again from our friend and neighbor to the south, Mark Gannon.

Neymar: “I hope I’ve been an example for other young players”
Forward says it’s not the right moment to go and play football in Europe, but admits that making the decision was quite difficult: “My head was like a cloverleaf”
By Adilson Barros,, Santos

Neymar carries the weight of Pelé.

There was a time when a young player, whenever asked about his greatest dream, would respond in the following way: “to be a starter on my club and reach the Seleção.” After football became a machine that moves unimaginable fortunes, with European clubs going down below the equator to take valuable and relatively cheap “merchandise,” the discourse changed: “My dream is to play in Europe.” But on Thursday, Neymar subverted what seemed to be the natural course of his career.

The Santos “gem” said no to Chelsea. He refused a salary of around €4MM (R$9MM) per year, plus a signing bonus, to stay at Santos. He wants to establish himself as a Santos idol, win titles, solidify his position on the Brazilian national team, and only after that, when he’s more mature, transfer to Europe. He hopes other promising youngsters follow his example.

“I think I stand out in a positive way in Brazilian football for having refused a very good offer. I hope to be an example for other players, that they’ll think carefully and stay more time with the clubs they love, that they’ll score more goals here, that they’ll develop.


Neymar to Chelsea: Not So Fast

August 17, 2010 — by Sean

Fantastic stuff from Mark Gannon, our correspondent in Brazil. The papers are abuzz with the seemingly imminent move of Neymar to England, or will it be as smooth a transition as the European press would have us believe? Read on for Mark’s translations of the Brazilian angle (follow the links for the original articles).

Neymar will meet with Santos officials on Tuesday (Photo: Ag. Estado)

Pelé, Robinho, and Sports Minister called upon to convince Neymar

The Fish” (Santos) sets up a task force to try to keep the prodigy in the Vila Belmiro.  The King of Football has already made himself available to talk to the player’s father
By Adilson Barros, Santos

Santos is trying its last gambits to convince Neymar to reject Chelsea’s offer and stay in the Vila Belmiro.  The club is setting up a task force that will include Pelé, Sports Minister Orlando Silva, and forward Robinho.  According to two members of Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, the three offered to contact the young Santos star and his father, Neymar dos Santos Silva, to try to talk them out of the idea of leaving the country at this moment.


Brazil v Portugal – 1966 (via @NYTimesGoal)

June 25, 2010 — by Suman

Eusebio conquers Pele

Just came across this history lesson and video via the NYT Goal blog’s entry for this morning’s highly anticipated intra-lusophonal match:

And now, a history lesson. The Seleção and Selecção never played each other until 1956, but since then they have met 18 times. Brazil emerged the winner 12 times, with 2 draws, though most of the games were played in Brazil. Yet how often do you think these sister nations have clashed in anger? Answer: only once, at the 1966 World Cup … and Portugal won, 3-1.

That match at a packed Goodison Park in Liverpool — the meeting of the all-time greats Eusébio and Pelé — was the group finale for both teams, and it eliminated Brazil while sending Portugal on a path to the semifinals in their first World Cup appearance. Eusébio scored twice, but many remember the game for its hard fouls, especially the one from defender João Morais against Pelé: