The new Brazil – golden oldies in golden shirts
SAO PAULO: The new Brazil under Luiz Felipe Scolari, returning to the hotseat a decade after delivering a World Cup title, could constitute old wine in new bottles, rather than vice-versa, Brazilian media pondered Friday.
Scolari returned to the post on Thursday after the Brazilian football Confederation (CBF) decided they must go back to the future having sacked Mano Menezes earlier this months after two years in the post.
With a Confederations Cup scheduled for next June and a home World Cup – their first hosting since 1950 – kicking off in 18 months time, the auriverde have to convince fans they can go one better than the 1950 team which fell at the last hurdle to Uruguay.
But rather than pinpoint callow youth as the future, Brazil, under 80-year-old CBF president Jose Maria Marin, Scolari, 64, and technical assistant and 1994 world champion coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, 69, appear to be open to the siren song of golden oldies.
Marin has told Scolari that, at a time when Brazil have an inexperienced side which has slid out of the top ten FIFA rankings, he dreams of seeing one or two ageing names brought back into the fold – including former Barcelona star Ronaldinho – now winding down his career at Atletico Mineiro.
The 32-year-old returned to the fold under Manezes and scored in a March friendly win over Bosnia but his best days are surely behind him, ten years on from his glory years with Scolari’s side which beat Germany in the 2002 World Cup final and four years on from his Nou Camp departure.
There have been occasional flashes of brilliance from the striker, who joined Mineiro from Flamengo where he arrived last year after an intermittently spectacular spell with AC Milan.
According to Brazilian newspapers, Marin, who only took over his post earlier this year after predecessor Ricardo Teixeira resigned, would like to see Ronaldinho in the side producing flair allied to experience – if the player can recapture his old form at international level.
Scolari is aware his team is more green than yellow – even brightest current star Neymar is only 20 – but is cautious about how far he will go in handing the limelight to old-stagers, no matter how talented.
“Of course we are not going to start from zero – the team is young and we have experienced players who can come back,” Scolari told reporters after he was unveiled Thursday.
Scolari, who has endured some major setbacks at club level since stepping down as Portugal coach in 2008 – he was unceremoniously sacked by Chelsea and left Palmeiras last September just weeks before they were relegated – is not out on his own as he has technical coordinator Parreira beside him.
Parreira has recent experience of World Cup campaigns having coached South Africa at the 2010 finals.
Parreira insists the two – who have between them held some 50 coaching posts across a dozen countries – will dovetail well, adding there is no blurring of responsabilities.
“I am the coordinator – he is the coach. The final decision will fall to the coach.”
But with Brazil clearly not opposed to ageism given a combined age of 213 for their Marin-Scolari-Parreira triumvirate, the door appears if not wide open then at least ajar for the likes of Ronaldinho and fellow veteran Kaka.