London 2012: Brazil’s Next Chapter

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If you know anything about football, you know about Brazil. Simple. Worldwide, millions upon millions of people re-live, fantasise and dream on a daily basis, about the somewhat legendary generations of Brazilians to have expertly lifted 5 World Cups in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and most recently, in 2002.

Historic icons such as the great Pelé, Socrates, Romario, Zico, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Carlos Alberto and Roberto Carlos have all wore the yellow, green and blue of the Seleção through the ages. Many more have their own place in history and always will do; their inspirational legacy lives on. Every great international side there is and ever will be are compared, like Spain were after Euro 2012, to the Brazil side of 1970, who blew the world away with their united brilliance.

Now, if you are unaware, the next chapter of the Brazilian tale has already begun. As the World Cup in 2014 is in Brazil itself, there is intense pressure, intensified by the people of the country, for the Canarinho to attractively, seductively rein supreme and lift the trophy in front of the home crowd. Surely it all sounds brilliant, exciting and straightforward? Of course it is not: Mano Menezes, the current manager of the national side, has one of the toughest and most gruelling jobs in world football – and just less than two years to perfect every inch of his master plan.

The 2012 Olympics is one of the most important events in the Brazilians’ long, successful history; it is time for the new generation of supposed superstars to steal the limelight, proving the many predictions of their apparent brilliance and superiority right. With no real competitive football in the build up to the World Cup (as the Verde-Amarela automatically qualify as hosts), the Olympics are to be taken incredibly seriously by Menezes and the CBF. If the young Brazil squad return home with anything less than a gold medal in August to signify their progress, the current coach may well lose his job.

This time in 30, 40, 50 or even 100 years, there may be a new, legendary set of names to highlight this generation of football: they could well include the controversial Neymar, the wonder kid Lucas Moura, the man-machine that is Hulk and the steady, selective Paulo Henrique Ganso. Native Brazilian football has, and is, producing incomparable talent that may appear to be on the verge of taking over the world.

As a mere 20 year-old compared to Lionel Messi more often than not, the pressure, equally, is on Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior of Santos. Some would call him naive, some would call him over-confident. Nevertheless, he is expected to effectively lead Brazil’s line in 2014, tearing defences to pieces in the process. The controversial teenage father has some incredible attributes on the field. His mesmerising goal for Santos (versus Flamengo) was shortlisted for FIFA’s Puskás Goal of the Year award. Also, he scored 24 goals for Santos last season whilst leading Santos to a Copa Libertadores (the equivalent of the Champions League in South America) triumph in 2011.

The Futebol Brasileirao may well be slower, less physical and full of over-dramatic players, but this very young man (carrying Pelé’s expectations on his shoulders, too) who already earns £936,000 per month and is constantly linked to Barcelona and Real Madrid ideally needs to prove himself to the world before 2014; and London is the place to do exactly that.

Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva is a similarly exciting prospect, even more so should he make a move to Europe himself. Moura’s ability is astounding, attracting various possible poachers; Manchester United, according to Globo Esporte, reportedly had a €33m bid for him rejected. Grainy internet videos display the youngster skilfully surpassing countless defenders and scoring equally outstanding, admirable goals for the coastal club, Sao Paulo.

Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima, known as Ganso (Goose), a team mate with Neymar at Santos, is the supposed future of the Brazilian midfield. At 22 years old, he is a slightly more experienced, and therefore knowledgeable player. Dunga included him as a reserve for the 2010 World Cup, and Menezes holds more faith in the midfielder’s potential. His international experiences have been mixed so far: playing well on occasions, however ultimately underperforming in the 2011 Copa America, where the Canarinho exited without even a whimper in the quarter-finals after losing on penalties to Paraguay in an incredibly boring encounter.

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