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My Brazil Starting 11 into 2011

January 4, 2011

Neymar, Pato and Ganso: the backbone of the new Brazil

Well that was a nice break I just had…

Happy New Year everyone. We’re back. Fatter and relaxed from a nice Holiday season, Futebol Thoughts! eases into 2011 with a little post about – what else – the Brazilian national team, the Seleção.

2011 will be a big year for Mano Menezes and his boys. Argentina will be hosting the Copa America in June, and the Hermanos will indeed be a major challenge for defending champions Brazil. Not only will Argentina play on home ground, but they are also hungry for silverware – the team has not won a major title since 1993.

Additionally, at a recent interview, Argentine manager Sergio Batista stated that they are working very hard and planning on spoiling Brazil’s party in 2014, claiming that his ultimate goal is to win a third World Cup title for his team. And the timing couldn’t be better for Batista and his boys. Brazil was defeated by Argentina in a friendly match in November (it was Brazil’s first loss against their rivals in five years), and Menezes’ Seleção has been a bit of  a shambles in recent performances. The team is still too young and inexperienced, their players too inconsistent, and the defensive line resembles 1998 and 2002 at best: shaky.

It will be hard to let go of the organized, disciplined and somewhat effective tactics of former manager Dunga – defensively and physically speaking, his team was imposing and intimidating. However, it has been truly exciting to watch Menezes as he tries to bring back the usual flair and joy of past Brazil teams. Who knows what the results will be like…at this stage anything is possible.

My choices here were based on recent events and, of course, the recent forms of each player. Kaka is back, and I truly hope he has a great season at Real Madrid this year. Meanwhile, Julio Cesar – my usual choice for keeper – has been doomed by injuries…and at 31 years of age, I don’t think he’ll ever fully recover. Another bizarre thing about this Brazil side is that it truly has no real stars. We haven’t seen a true star at Brazil since the days of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho (at his peak). Lately, it seems, Brazilian footballers are burning out faster and faster, without rhyme or reason. They are aging quicker and their replacements are brought in just as quickly. Kaka is already a shadow of what he was in 2007, and he’s only 28. Robinho, at 26, is nothing compared to his form at Santos in 2002-2005. Ronaldinho is already deemed “a goner”, but he’s only 31! And what is there to say about Ronaldo, a three-time World Player of the Year, completely out of shape and totally burnt out at 33…

I won’t even mentioned Roma’s Adriano. That story is just too pathetic…

So, with all of that lovely stuff in mind, here is my Brazil team, as we thrust into the new year:

Starting 11:

Victor (Gremio – BRA)

Dani Alves (Barcelona – SPA; my Captain)
David Luiz (Benfica – POR)
Thiago Silva (AC Milan – ITA)
Andre Santos (Fenerbahçe – TUR)

Hernanes (Lazio – ITA)
Ramires (Chelsea – ENG)
Kaka (Real Madrid – SPA)
Ganso (Santos – BRA)

Pato (AC Milan – ITA)
Neymar (Santos – BRA)

And what the heck, here’s the rest of the team; making it a complete 23!


J. Cesar (Corinthians – BRA)
Rafael (Santos – BRA)

Maicon (Inter – ITA; ruined by Benitez, and 30, but what the hell…)
Miranda (Sao Paulo – BRA)
Alex Silva (Sao Paulo – BRA)
Marcelo (Real Madrid – SPA; we really have NO good Left Backs…)

Jucilei (Corinthians – BRA)
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool – ENG; I’m taking a leap of faith here, as he’s been rather good in his recent Brazil call ups)
Elias (Atletico Madrid – SPA; an excellent complete midfielder in the making)
Bruno Cesar (Corinthians – BRA; one of my favourites! A killer left-footed playmaker. He hasn’t been selected by Mano at all. Shame.)

Robinho (AC Milan – ITA; another leap of faith. Mano has him as the current Captain. Shame. I put him on the bench. Where he belongs)
Hulk (Porto – POR; another great and powerful player ignored by Mano. Muscle and pace are much needed in this scrawny little team)

Honorable mentions/question marks for the future: Philippe Coutinho (Inter), Ronaldinho (Gremio/Flamengo/Blackburn ??), Alex (Chelsea), Rafael (Man United), Michel Bastos (Lyons), Andre (Kiev), Anderson (Man United), Sandro (T. Spurs), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar), Diego (Wolfsburg), Lucio (Inter), Renato Augusto (B. Leverkusen), Giuliano (Internacional), Diego Alves (Almeria), Carlos Eduardo (Rubin Kazan), Nilmar (Villarreal)…

Here’s to 2011! chin chin.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink
    January 5, 2011 3:13 am

    I’m an Inter fan, and I hold Maicon entirely responsible for his awful first half of the season. All Benitez did was ask to do just what he did last season — how did that ruin him? Maicon was unmotivated and pouting about not being allowed to move to Real over the summer, he bears full responsibility for how he performed (or, more accurately, failed to perform).

    • January 5, 2011 3:35 am

      Granted, he hasn’t performed like last year, but neither has Cesar, or the (once) great Lucio…or the whole team for that matter. Doesn’t everything go back to Benitez being a, let’s face it, very “average” manager at this point? And if not, then why was Benitez the one fired, and not Maicon…?!

  2. December 28, 2012 1:36 pm

    I don’t know what Felipão will do. The way he is, he’ll probably come up with an old crappy team with the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaká and Robinho in it.

    In my opinion, though, the Seleção should look like this:

    1) GK: Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense)
    2) RB: Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
    3) CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)
    4) CB: David Luiz (Chelsea)
    6) LB: Marcelo (Real Madrid)

    5) DM: Ralf (Corinthians) / Arouca (Santos)
    8) CM: Ramires (Chelsea) / Paulinho (Corinthians)
    10) AM: Oscar (Chelsea) / Ganso (São Paulo)
    7) AM: Lucas (Paris Saint-Germain)

    11) Neymar (Santos)
    9) CF: Pato (A.C. Milan) / Fred (Fluminense) / Hulk (Zenit) / Damião (Internacional)

    _____________________THIAGO SILVA___________DAVID LUIZ_____________________
    ___DANIEL ALVES______________________________________________MARCELO____
    ___________________________RALF / AROUCA__________________________________
    _________________________________________RAMIRES / PAULINHO_______________
    ________LUCAS_______________________OSCAR / GANSO_______________________
    __________________________________PATO / FRED______________________________

    Those are the best names Brazil has per position at the moment. Of course, in 1 and a half year many things can change; but if the World Cup was going to happen this coming year and I was the manager, that would be my team.
    I know it’s a very young squad offensively, but Lucas, Oscar, Ganso and Neymar all have already won under-20 international competitions (including the U-20 WC). So they are not entirely without experience with the National Team. Better than the older generation that turned up being a complete failure, when so much was expected of them. Besides, in 2 years, those guys will be flying even higher.

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