OK, to start things off today, I would like to apologize for the lack of posts. But not only was I covering The Brazilian Offside for a week, but I’ve been vacationing. It has has been a couple of days since I’ve come back and I’ve been relaxing. So once again apologies for the lack of posting.
This post is going to be a pretty big update on all things Cruzeiro within the last three weeks (everything from seal dribbles to a crazy Englishman on Gol TV), so enjoy the ride.
Cruzeiro vs. Vasco
On Sunday, Vasco played host to Cruzeiro. We came in knowing that Vasco would be a direct threat to our chances of qualifying for Libertadores. Even though Vasco has been practically unbeatable at home this season, we took care of business. Ramires (who has simply been a revelation this season) scored one of the goals and Thiago scored the other. Good performance by the boys, came out took three points and are now eight points clear of third placed Santos. Cruzeiro trail São Paulo by nine pints, but anything is possible; let’s just wait and see.
RapoGalo: The Clássico
The game had a great crowd, just under 41,0000 –mostly Cruzeiro fan– which made the atmosphere great. The game started off mostly with Cruzeiro calling the shots. It only took 12 minutes for my favorite Cruzeiro player, Roni, to score. Again in the 25th minute it was Roni making it 2-0 Cruzeiro, this time from the penalty spot. Atlético would not play dead in this game and showed off some incredible class and entertaining ability as Gerson and then Marinho scored for Atlético and sent the game into half time as a tie, 2-2. Atlético came out with ambition and completed an incredible comeback in the 58th minute. Marinho scored from the spot and became the name of the hour. It wouldn’t last. Guilherme was probably the best player of the match, and after being introduced as a sub in the second half, he scored and tied things up once more. Lightning struck twice, as Guilherme got another one 13 minutes from time. It was the games seventh and last goal. 4-3 Cruzeiro.
The Little Seal is back
One of the games highlights was the seal dribble. For those of you who don’t know, Kerlon is a 19-year-old who was being called Brazil’s Next Pelé (yes it is an official title) 2 years ago. After 2 long injuries, which have kept him out for practically the last 2 years, he made his re-debut a couple of games ago. One of the things Kerlon is famed for is the seal dribble. Yes, I bet you have seen it before a thousand times o YouTube. He pops the ball on top of his head and bounces it there. The move was first seen in the 2005 South American U-17 Championship. The move itself isn’t that effective, in my opinion, in getting around defenders. What it does do though is draw fouls and it wasn’t any different in derby. Kerlon popped the ball up and was fouled just outside the box by a viscous elbow from Coelho. Coelho got red carded and any chance of Atlético tying the match was gone. In the post game interviews all the Atlético players stated how the move was used inappropriately. In my opinion it was a totally legal thing to do and Coelho’s hit was very very viscous and he deserved to be sent off. The Cruzeiro fans began chanting Kerlon’s name after the red card.
Seal dribble and Clássico aftermath
The Atlético vs. Cruzeiro Clássico, played nine days ago, has been talked about all over Brazil. Every player has there own opinion on whether the seal dribble was an appropriate thing to do. Some say Kerlon was wrong to do it and only did it to get Coelho sent off, while other say it was Coelho’s fault for being so aggressive.
The Clássico also had some bad news, two people died and four were injured. One of the victims was a 90-year-old man who wasn’t even involved in the fighting. It’s sad how stupid these people are. Killing each other because of their love for there club? Stupidity.
AJ and DJ are back as well
Doesn’t it some like a lot of people are coming back? Well, it’s not only Kerlon and I, but DJ as well. Remember a while back I told you about our manager being suspended? Well, Cruzeiro’s great lawyers were able to prove his innocence and now that
São Paulo have a 9 point lead he’s learned his lesson he has been able to return. He was present in the game against Atlético and Vasco, thankfully.
The boss in action.
These are the results you missed:
Cruzeiro 5 – 0 Palmeiras (Finals stats)
Juventude 1 – 0 Cruzeiro (Finals stats)
Cruzeiro 2 – 0 Gremio (Finals stats)
Flamengo 3 – 1 Cruzeiro (Final stats)
Courtesy of Benny from Blog do Cruzeirense
Cruzeiro has updated their site, for those off you who read Portuguese. The site is now done by Globo — the Brazilian media lords. For all its hype, the site turned out to be very disappointing. Besides the new layout, the site got worse. The history section has close to nothing, squad information doesn’t even feature the player’s number, it’s just in Portuguese, and overall, very poor quality. For those of you who want to check it out here it is.
Some unrelated news I wanted to talk about:
1.) I was watching the Barcelona vs. Sevilla game the other day on Gol TV and Ray Hudson was calling the shots. I like the guy and his crazy (sometimes sex involved) quotes, but as I was watching that game, he pissed me off to the point of no return. Aren’t commentators suppose to be neutral? His love for Argentina and all thing Argentine is beginning to annoy me. Must he mention an Argentine player when there isn’t even one on the field? Though he is better than some of Gol TV’s Spanish commentators who sometimes call gamed in broken English.
2.) The Brazilian Série B isn’t that popular, but some great players and teams have been there. A team that has really caught be attention is Ipatinga. The club was formed in 1998 and is already close to coming to the first division. Like most new clubs, Ipatinga had to climb itself up the state league latter (in most Brazilian states there are three leagues). Once they arrived at the first division of the state level and finish among the top four they could begin to play in the Brazilian Série C. After a couple of tries they were promoted last year from the third division and are currently second in the second division this year. I’m from the city of Ipatinga so that’s way I’m really rooting for this team. It would be incredible for them to be in the first division by just there tenth professional year.
Cruzeiro tied Paraná (who, for some reason, have an incredible record against Cruzeiro in the last couple of years) last night in a very exciting game – Cruzeiro games always are – and I don’t think there is much more to say. Our manager, Dorival Júnior has been suspended for 120 days for invading the pitch in the Botafogo game. Just another dirty trick pulled off to see Cruzeiro lose the championship. In fact the judges are so against Cruzeiro that the manager wasn’t even present yesterday! Yes, that’s right, the court scheduled his hearing practically at the same moment the game was being played! I would swear now, but this is indeed a family blog.
Paraná Clube 2 x 2 Cruzeiro, Wednesday, 6:30 PM Eastern Time, Estádio Durival de Brito, Curitiba, 22nd round of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2007 – Attendance: ? – Profit: ? – Referee: Lourival Dias Lima Filho (BA) – Assistant referees: Alessandro Rocha and Adson Márcio Lopes Leal (BA) – Yellow card(s): Ramires and Charles (Cru) – Goals: Wagner, 25th; Josiel, 57th, Marcelo Moreno, 58th, Josiel (penalty), 70th minute – Paraná: Flávio; Daniel Marques, Neguette and Toninho (Batista); Leo Mattos (Alex), Adriano, Beto, Éverton (Goiano) and Paulo Rodrigues; Vandinho (Vinícius Pacheco) and Josiel. Manager: Lori Sandri / Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan, Émerson, Thiago Martinelli and Fernandinho; Charles and Ramires; Leandro Domingues (Maicosuel) and Wagner (Aldo Souza); Alecsandro and Marcelo Moreno (Nenê). Manager: Ivan Izzo (Dorival Júnior was at a hearing at the time of the game). – Historically – Cruzeiro and Paraná have played 23 matches. Cruzeiro has won 10, tied 5, lost 8, scored 40 goals, conceded 32. In the Campeonato Brasileiro, they have played 17 matches, Cruzeiro has won 6, tied 3, lost 8, scored 30 goals, conceded 28. Cruzeiro and Paraná have never played each other in a final.
Corinthians played host to Cruzeiro on Saturday (apologies for the late report) and in front of 30,000 Corinthian fans Cruzeiro won 3-0.
Cruzeiro 3 – 0 Corinthians: Alecsandro +10
How things change, in the beginning of the championship Cruzeiro had gotten off to a horrible start and in the second round lost 3-0 to Corinthians. A couple of months later Cruzeiro faced Corinthians again, this time Cruzeiro were coming off five straight victories, while Corinthians were just now beginning to find their form. Cruzeiro played well and got three points and again relied on another extraordinary performance from Alecsandro. Alecsandro has got so far nine goals in just six appearances. For those of you who are not familiar with the guy here is a quick lowdown: Cruzeiro bought him just over a year ago and after some “OK” performances he found himself being loaned out to Sporting Lisbon of Portugal for one year, Sporting could opt to buy him after his loan spell was over. Sporting instead let him go after his loan spell was done. Alecsandro arrived at Cruzeiro pretty late (the Brazilian championship was well underway), and after arriving and practicing two weeks with the squad he was given a chance to play. And play he did, nine goals in six games! He has only played 25% as many matches as the championship’s leading scorer, Josiel, but is only four goals shy of Josiel’s 13. Why has Alecsandro been such a pleasant surprise? Because he only had mediocre performances for Cruzeiro when he first arrived and because of his physical attributes (he is on the heavy side, Cruzeiro fans used to refer to him as O Gordinho (Little Fatty)). So I guess we weren’t expecting him to play so well and trust me it has been a good surprise! As for Cruzeiro so far I only have one thing to say-STAY HUMBLE AND RESPECT YOUR OPPONENTS!!!!!!! Being a Cruzeiro fan, you learn to never believe you are a title or Libertadores contender unless you are mathematically proven to be so. São Paulo is still a very strong team and haven’t lost or conceded a goal in a very long time now. So the road to glory this year will be tough. The club directors seem to be doing their part and have reportedly rejected offers for players such as: Wagner, Guilherme and Alecsandro.
|Positions as of August 26, 2007|
|Pts – points earned; G – games played; W – wins; D – draws; L – losses;
GF – goals for; GA – goals against; GD – goal differential
|Team qualifies for both Copa Toyota Libertadores 2008 and Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2008|
|Teams qualify for the Copa Toyota Libertadores 2008|
|Teams qualify for the Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2008|
|Teams relegated to Série B 2008|
|Fluminense qualified for the Copa Toyota Libertadores 2008 by winning the Copa do Brasil 2007|
Corinthians 0 x 3 Cruzeiro, Saturday, August 25th, 2007, 5:10 PM Eastern Time, Pacaembu, São Paulo, 21st round of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2007 – Attendance: 32,439 paid (Nestlé promotional tickets), 26,356 present – Profit: R$241,000.00 – Referee: Carlos Eugênio Simon (Fifa-RS) – Assistant referees: Marcelo Barison and Paulo Roberto S. Conceição (RS) – Yellow card(s): Betão, Ricardinho (Cor); Emerson, Thiago Heleno (Cru) – Goals: Alecsandro, 28th; Jonathan, 62nd, Alecsandro, 80th, – Corinthians: Felipe; Fábio Ferreira, Zelão and Betão; Edson (Moradei), Ricardinho, Vampeta and Gustavo Nery; Arce (Everton Santos), Finazzi and Wilson (Bruno Bonfim). Manager: Paulo César Carpegiani / Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan, Emerson, Thiago Heleno and Fernandinho; Charles and Ramires; Maicosuel (Marcinho) and Leandro Domingues (Aldo Sousa); Alecsandro and Marcelo Moreno (Nenê). Manager: Dorival Júnior. – Historically – Cruzeiro and Corinthians have played 62 matches. Cruzeiro has won 19, tied 17, lost 26, scored 77 goals and conceded 88. In the Campeonato Brasileiro, they have played 42 games. Cruzeiro has won 14, tied 13, lost 15, scored 43 goals and conceded 47. The two teams have played each other in a Campeonato Brasileiro final, the 1969 Taça de Prata, at the Mineirão. Cruzeiro won 2 x 1, but the title was won, awkwardly enough, by Palmeiras who had scored one more goal then Cruzeiro against Botafogo.
Cruzeiro has been eliminated from the Copa Sudamericana, with a final score of 2-1 on aggregate. Cruzeiro played a good game and shouldn’t be blamed for the elimination. Was I somewhat disappointed? Yes. Did I beat myself up over it? Nope. What are my reasons?
1.) Bad refereeing – In the first leg, Goiás won 2-0, with contraversial calls by the referee, especial when he awarded a last minute penalty that didn’t really exist.
2.) Cruzeiro B – Cruzeiro put out their B team in the Sudamericana and what do you expect when you put out a B team? Elimination.
3.) The post – Goiás played a good defensive game last night, but if it wasn’t for the all mighty post Cruzeiro would have scored more goals.
4.) Goiás’ defense – Goiás’ defense was practically uncrackable. Goiás played São Paulo last weekend and not even São Paulo’s A team, arguably the best in Brazil, could score on Goiás and the match ended up 0-0. Goiás played even more defensively against Cruzeiro and it was actually incredible Cruzeiro managed to score!
5.) No Roni, no Guilherme – Of course one of the other reasons Cruzeiro didn’t advance was because our two key goalscorers didn’t even play a minute last night.
6.) Advantages of being eliminated – less games, while our opponents in the Brazilian championship have more.
7.) Complete focus in Brazil – Cruzeiro will now have play completely focused in the Brazilian championship.
Overall, I feel that Cruzeiro played with “raça”, which means class and superiority. It’s just that Goiás’ defense was just to strong. Oh yea… congrats to Jonathan, Thiago Heleno and Ramires, three players that, I feel, had a breakout game.
Cruzeiro 1 x 0 Goiás (aggregate Cruzeiro 1 x 2 Goiás), Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007, 8:45 ET, Mineirão, Second leg of the first round of the Copa Sudamericana 2007 – Attendance: 11,409 paid, 12,656 present – Profit: R$52,947.50 – Referee: Wagner Tardelli (SC) Walter Reis and Ednilson Corona – Yellow card(s): Ernando, Vítor, Cleber Gúcho, Elson, Fábio Bahia (Goi); Wagner, Charles, Thiago Heleno (Cru) – Red(s): Elson (Goi) – Goals: Thiago Heleno, 14th minute – Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan (Diego), Emerson, Thiago Heleno and Fernandinho (Marcinho); Charles and Ramires, Leandro Domingues and Wagner; Alecsandro and Nenê (Marcelo Moreno). Manager: Dorival Júnior / Goiás: Harlei; Fábio Bahia, Leonardo and Ernando; Vítor (Fernando Miguel), Amaral, Cléber Gaúcho, Élson, Paulo Baier and Chiquinho; Cristiano (Fábio). Tec: Paulo Bonamigo – Historically – Cruzeiro and Goiás have played 40 matches. Cruzeiro has won 21, tied 9, lost 10; scored 54 goals, conceded 43. In 25 games of the Brazilian Championship, Cruzeiro has won 13, tied 6 and lost 6, scored 37, conceded 28 goals. In the Copa Sudamericana, 4 games: Cruzeiro has won 2, tied 1, lost 1, scored 6 goals, conceded 6.
Cruzeiro have officially launched their 2007 third kit, to be used in the Sudamericana (probably won’t even get the chance!) and in some Brazilian championship matches. Although the shirt is blue, like our home kit, and defeats it’s purpose, it still came out pretty sweet. Photos are provided by my friend Benny’s Cruzeiro photo blog. Enjoy:
Yellow & Green=Goalkeeper Third Kit
Sorry guys for not posting anything in a while now, I was out of town, but now I’m back and ready to begin again. Here are the results you missed: Wed. 8 Cruzeiro 2 – 0 Sport, Sun. 12 América RN 1 – 2 Cruzeiro, Thu. 16 Goiás B 2 – 0 Cruzeiro B (first leg of the Copa Sudamericana) and yesterday’s clash between Cruzeiro and Fluminense ended 4 – 2 for Cruzeiro, who got their fifth straight victory in the Brazilian championship.
Cruzeiro 4 – 2 Fluminense
Going into this one Cruzeiro had lost their last four matches at home against Fluminense and knew that they had a tough match ahead of them. Yesterday’s Cruzeiro vs. Fluminense match was one of the most emotional games of the season so far. The game started with the home team, Cruzeiro, applying all the pressure and it only took three minutes for it to pay off, Cruzeiro had taken the lead through Alecsandro. Fluminense got a bit of momentum going for them later in the half and managed to tie it all up in the 22nd minute, with a goal from Arouca. We went into halftime with the score tied 1 – 1, and both teams still had everything to play for. In the second half, much to the sorrow of Cruzeiro’s home crowd, Fluminense completed their comeback 2 – 1, in the 70th minute, the goal coming from Thiago Neves. That scoreline wouldn’t hold though, because in th 77th Alecsandro, again the hero, scored to tie things up 2 – 2. Pressured by the fans, Cruzeiro needed another goal to take the lead, and once again Alecsandro, the hat-trick hero, scored in 89th minute to give The Celestials the lead once more. Cruzeiro would even get another one, this time from youngster Marcelo Moreno in the 90th. Cruzeiro complete the comeback in style and the home fans loved it, 4 – 2 is your final score.
This was a big result for Cruzeiro and are now second in Brazil, trailing S%C3%A3 Paulo by six points – Cruzeiro has played one less game and can reduce the six-point margin to three – Vasco is right behind us with with 34 points, just one point less then Cruzeiro. It was a big result for Cruzeiro, especially without our two top scorers, Guilherme and Roni. Cruzeiro now know that they have another player that can score goals, Alecsandro. The guy’s got seven goals and has only played four matches! He came back from a loan spell in Portugal with Sporting, got himself some European experience and has now come back and has been on fire. He is now only trailing the tournaments top scorers, André Lima (Botafogo) and Josiel (Paraná), by five goals – keep in mind that André Lima and Josiel have 12 goals, but have played five times more matches than Alecsandro has! Cruzeiro are now in a good position, but have got to keep their feet on the ground and understand that a lot can still happen. The players need to keep it humble!
Cruzeiro 4 x 2 Fluminense, Sunday, August 19th, 2007, 5:10 ET – Mineirão, 20th round of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2007 – Attendance: 17,046 paid, 18,655 present – Profit: R$211,535.00 – Referee: Cleber Wellington Abade (SP) – Assistant referees: Márcio Luiz Augusto and Nilson de Souza Monteiro (SP) – Yellow card(s): Arouca, Romeu, David, Berna (Flu); Martinelli, Marcelo Moreno (Cru) – Goals: Alecsandro, 3rd, Arouca, 23rd, Thiago Neves, 69th, Alecsandro, 76th, 88th, Marcelo Moreno, 90th minute – Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan, Emerson, Thiago Martinelli and Fernandinho; Leo Silva (Charles) and Ramires, Leandro Domingues and Wagner; Alecsandro and Nenê (Diego, later, Marcelo Moreno). Manager: Dorival Júnior / Fluminense: Ricardo Berna; David, Thiago Silva, Luiz Alberto and Júnior César; Romeu, Arouca, Maurício and Thiago Neves (Cícero); Rodrigo Tiuí and Somália (Soares). Managers: Renato Gaúcho. – Historically – 56th Cruzeiro x Fluminense. Cruzeiro has won 16, tied 15, lost 25, scored 76 goals and suffered 93 goals. In the Brazllian championship, there’s been 33 matches. Cruzeiro has won 9, tied 12 and lost 12. The two teams have never met each other in any final.
All the goals & All the plays
Money & transfers, like peanut butter & jelly, it seems like these two were made for each other. So without further undo let’s talk about money & transfers, shall we?
Well, to start, let’s get one thing clear, don’t burst into laughter after you hear some of the figures I’m going to mention, remember Cruzeiro is a Brazilian league team (The league itself makes something like $24 million, for comparison sakes the Premier League make $130 million and The Championship makes $25 million!) so don’t expect too much. Cruzeiro is exactly the 150th richest club in the world with a revenue of $29 million per year. The only clubs in Brazil that are richer are (of course São Paulo-$65 million, Internacional-$57 million, Flamengo-$38 million, Palmeiras & Corinthians-$33 million). Cruzeiro makes the same amount of money as Galatasaray SK, Getafe CF, Ascoli Calcio 1898 and Empoli FC make.
Personally I want to see that number get into the high thirties this season and the only way to do that, besides selling every good player we have, is to be successful. By successful I mean a good placement in the Brazilian championship (top four) and even a good run in this years Sudamericana would help. As we all know success and championships really help a club, but in Brazil 75% of a clubs revenue tends to come from selling their players.
Here are the players Cruzeiro have sold so far in 2007:
€4.2 million – Fábio Santos
€1 million (has already returned from loan) – Wágner
€250 thousand (one year loan to Sporting, valued at €7 million) – Gladstone
€2 million – Luizão
$500 thousand – Rômulo
€3.5 million – Araújo
Renan and Fábio Santos – R$ 450 thousand (on loan)
Ricardinho – free
Marcinho – free (traded for Leandro and Martinez)
Leandro Domingues – R$ 800 thousand (50% of rights)
Maicosuel – R$ 1.3 million (60% of rights)
Fellype Gabriel – free
Rafinha – undisclosed
Pedro Júnior – free (traded for Teco)
Nenê – R$ 350 thousand (55% of rights)
Rômulo – R$1.3 million (60% of rights)
Marcelo Moreno – club did not pay (US$ 400 thousand Spanish investors bought 90% of the players rights and passed to Cruzeiro 40%. The other 10% belongs to the athlete.)
Ramires – free (70% of rights are valued at US$ 300 thousand)
Léo Fortunato – R$ 200 thousand (payed to Madureira to end player’s contract)
Marcelo Tavares – free
Mariano – R$ 150 thousand (rights are valued at R$ 500 thousand)
Daniel – free
Roni – free
Fernandinho – R$ 600 thousand (25% of rights)
Thiago – US$ 540 thousand (50% of rights).
Total: €2 million
Weldon – Yokohama Marinus of Japan– US$ 200 thousand
Anderson – Benfica – €2.5 million or loan
Comparison to other Brazilian clubs
I know what you’re saying, “€11 million, that’s it?” I know that even by Brazilian standards that is somewhat pitiful and other clubs in Brazil have made that or even more than that in just one sale this season (namely Internacional and São Paulo). But think about this – many players in Brazil aren’t actually owned by the club itself, instead clubs usually just own a small stake of the player and usually get help from “investors” to supply the cash. When it comes time to sell the player the “investors” usually end up making more money off the deals than the club itself. With Cruzeiro though, this is not true. The club owns practically all of its players and doesn’t need to rely on foreign companies to purchase its players. So what does this mean? Well it means that almost all the money Cruzeiro makes goes directly into the club’s piggy bank and unlike other clubs, the money doesn’t need to be split with “investors”. In addition, much of the revenue that clubs like Flamengo or Corinthians make go towards paying old debts, in some cases these debts get to be as high as €50 million (cough, cough Corinthians cough, cough). According to club president, Alivimar de Oliviero Costa, Cruzeiro manages to pay all its expenses (although, he did say “sometimes with difficulty”), but Cruzeiro have no debts, which is a really good thing. And on top of all Cruzeiro hasn’t really had to sell “key” players this season and has really only sold “unwanted” players. While other clubs have been making a lot of money but selling their most important players in the process.
Although Cruzeiro won’t be ably to cash in a ton of money this season, I believe there will be plenty of cash coming in next season. Cruzeiro currently has two of Brazil’s “next Alexandre Pato”. They are Guilherme (who you here me talk about all the time – he is almost the same age as Pato, has played almost the same amount of games as Pato this season and has scored more goals than Pato this season, which makes him – in my opinion of course – more expansive than Pato). The other promise is Kerlon, who was voted best player and top scorer in the U-17 South American Championship in 2005. Kerlon was back then considered a big Brazilian promise. He also became famous for his Seal Dribble, where he dribbled the ball with his head (a YouTube favorite). Kerlon should have been in Europe by now, but in the last two years he has been hit with two huge injuries that has kept him out for an enormously amount of time, he is currently still injured. Manchester United were interested in Kerlon two years ago and Inter and AC Milan were interested last year and lately there have been reports that Torino may be interested. Kerlon is valued at €10 and the only way Guilherme is going is for €20+. If any European club presidents are reading this (cause I know you are) I would recommend you buy, out of the two, Kerlon. Because once he heals and starts playing again, he’ll become much more valuable. Take for example Pato who seven months ago was worth €7 and now? €20. Kerlon, in my opinion, will be pretty big in a year or two. Remember – Kerlon and Guilherme – you heard it here first.
So once again Cruzeiro managed to fade in the last minutes of this one, final score 3-2 for the boys in blue. Oh before I forget, my apologies for commenting that our next game was against Flamengo, turns out CBF “altered” the schedule, so neither Flamengo nor Cruzeiro played mid-week, which gave Cruzeiro a much needed bit of rest. Now back to the game…
What is most important is the victory and beating the team marketed as the “best in the world”, Inter (who were Pato-less), is always a good thing. The match was good with some solid performances by Roni and especially Wagner, who was terrific. Again Cruzeiro played “weakened” because Guilherme wasn’t able to play (suspended). A player of Guilherme’s caliber is always good to have on the field, but even without him (and without Araújo, who was sold mid-week) Cruzeiro managed to find players who can score. Cruzeiro’s defense though, which has been heavily critiqued, isn’t really the problem, I think what needs to be improved on the most is mentality. Cruzeiro’s attack has been doing it’s job, both in the Botafogo and Inter game Cruzeiro managed to go 3-0 up and the defense did it’s job for most of the game, but in the last few minutes of both games Cruzeiro conceded two goals and has had to settle for a 3-2 victory on both occasions. Both games Cruzeiro should have won 3-0. So it really isn’t the defense that is that bad, it’s really the entire team’s fault because they completely space out in the last 10 minutes or so. So one again I’ll say it, the problem has more to do with mentality than anything else.
Cruzeiro need a leader in the field, the closest they have to a leader is Roni, who is experienced and talented, but the problem is that Roni plays too far forward, Cruzeiro need a leader in the back and quite frankly I don’t think they have one. Cruzeiro were supposedly going to buy Scotti (experienced Uruguayan international and defender) and/or Anderson (Brazilian defender who is a starter for Benfica). Scotti has renewed his contract with his old club, so he isn’t going to come. Anderson, though, who seems to be a pretty big name, would be a great addition to Cruzeiro’s back line, (he’s a starter for a major European side, Benfica) he is experienced, 27 years old and could possible become a commander in our back line. The problem is that his deal should have been wrapped up last week at the latest and it seems now that he may not come. Here is where a sigh. Our directors never bring anyone decent to the club and I know it is hard for a Brazilian club to do so, but just this one time Cruzeiro! Anyway, Cruzeiro beat Inter in a game worth six points and are now in fourth and have a game in hand over most of the league, let’s see how far we will get this season.
Next up for the Celestials is Sport, who came up from the second division this year and have been playing attractive football and racking up points. This game, like almost every game, will be crucial for Cruzeiro’s Libertadores and maybe title hopes. A win mid-week this week would be exactly the sort of inspiration that Cruzeiro will need to fight for a top spot this year. And you Cruzeiro and Brazilian football fans, where do you see Cruzeiro this year? Are we going to stay where we are (in the top 4, Libertadores), improve (challenge for the title) or get worst (Sudamericana or lower)? Who will win this years title? Do Flamengo or Corinthians have a chance to go down? Who is the surprise team so far? Let me know how you feel about Cruzeiro or any of the other clubs this year.
Cruzeiro 3 x 2 Internacional, Sunday, August 5th, 2007, 3:00 ET – Mineirão, 17th round of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2007 – Attendance: 20,463 paid, 23,002 present – Profit: R$278,132.50 – Referee: Wilson Souza de Mendonça (PE-FIFA) – Assistant Referees: Josemar J. D. Moutinho and Luciano J. C. Cruz (PE) – Yellow Card(s): Guiñazu and Wellington Monteiro (Int) – Red Card(s): none – Goals: Leandro Domingues, 27th, Roni (penalty), 51st, Alecsandro, 80th, Iarley, 88th, Adriano, 90th minute – Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan, Emerson, Thiago Heleno and Fernandinho; Leo Silva (Paulinho Dias) and Ramires; Leandro Domingues and Wagner; Marcinho (Alecsandro) and Roni (Nenê). Manager: Dorival Júnior. / Internacional: Clemer; Magal (Luciano Henrique), Índio, Marcão, and Rubens Cardoso; Wellington Monteiro, Magrão (Jonas), Guiñazu e Pinga; Iarley and Christian (Adriano). Manager: Alexandre Gallo.
10-men Cruzeiro proved to much for Botafogo, as the fox but out the fire. It wasn’t the greatest of games for Cruzeiro (up 3-0, then conceding two goals in the last 10 minutes), but in the end all that matters is getting the three points. Cruzeiro now take charge of 5th spot in the league after beating leaders Botafogo 3-2 on Sunday in Belo Horizonte. Cruzeiro didn’t seem to be at their best in this game, but the game was entertaining. Much credit to Fábio, our goalkeeper, who had a tremendous game. Beating the leaders should give Cruzeiro some confidence for their mid-week duel with Flamengo, a game that Cruzeiro will look to seek all three points in. Like I said before Cruzeiro is like a yo-yo: win one-lose two-draw one-lose one-win two… Hopefully though we can get a good performance against troubled Flamengo, get all three points, score some goals and increase our goal differential.
This game though served to prove a good point: Guilherme is a forward, not a midfielder. You see, DJ tries to play the Fab Four together at every chance he gets. But here’s the thing: 3/4 of the members of the Fab Four are forwards (Araújo, Roni, and Guilherme) so in order to compromise he makes Guilherme a midfielder. Since Araújo was out for this game, DJ put Guilherme up front where he belongs. Now when Araújo comes back he is going to want his striker role back from Guilherme, but Guilherme, only 18 years old, is one of the best strikers in the league and in the current moment better that 29-year-old Araújo. So with that said, I think the Fab Four should exclude Araújo and in his place put in Marcinho, a midfielder. The combination of Marcinho and Wagner (both midfielders) and Guilherme and Roni (both forwards) would work much better. BTW, Daniel, the guy that got a red card and made Cruzeiro play 50 minutes of this match with only 10 players, why was he playing to began with? Paulinho Dias, another one of Cruzeiro up-and-coming talents, should have taken his place. Paulinho Dias isn’t getting the credit he deserves, but he is a product of the Cruzeiro youth system and a great player. I don’t know why DJ doesn’t play him.
Cruzeiro 3 x 2 Botafogo, Sunday, July 29, 2007, 6:10 ET – Mineirão, 15th round of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2007 – Attendance: 13,302 paid, 15,344 present – Profit: R$183,350.00 – Referee: Leonardo Gaciba da Silva (RS-Fifa) – Assistant Referees: Altemir Hausmann and Paulo Ricardo Silva (RS) – Yellow Card(s): Daniel, Charles, Guilherme (Cru) and Zé Roberto (Bot) – Red Card(s): Daniel (Cru) – Goals: Guilherme, 46, Wagner, 76, Guilherme, 80, André Lima, 86 and Renato Silva, 90 (+2) – Cruzeiro: Fábio; Jonathan, Emerson, Tiago Martinelli, Fernandinho; Charles, Ramires (Daniel); Marcinho (Maicosuel), Wagner; Roni (Nenê) and Guilherme. Manager: Dorival Júnior / Botafogo: Júlio César; Juninho, Alex (Zé Roberto), Renato Silva; Alessandro, Túlio, Lúcio Flavio, Joílson, Diguinho (Ricardinho); Jorge Henrique, André Lima. Manager: Cuca
Well if you’ve been wondering why I haven’t kept my promise of 3 – 4 posts a week, it is because I’m extremely busy as of late, but I’ll try to do what I can.
“This team of mine is looking like a yo-yo, they go up and down.”
All right, now back to business. The São Paulo and Atlético-PR games… OK well I had said before that these games were crucial and that we would have to win these games at all cost, but it seems that the Cruzeiro players weren’t listening to me. Cruzeiro’s finishing is beginning to scare me because they could have finished off both São Paulo and Atlético-PR, but bad finishing got in the way of that… The 2-1 lose to São Paulo and 2-2 draw with Atlético-PR might depress some people, but I’m a positive person and Cruzeiro are only eight points (five if Cruzeiro wins on Sunday) from leaders Botafogo and can do themselves and the league a favor if they were to beat Botafogo on Sunday. It’s good to note that Cruzeiro has been without key players in both the São Paulo and Atlético-PR games. The Fab Four should play together for the first time in two rounds on Sunday. As for the Botafogo game, I’m not going to say much, but Cruzeiro have to beat them if they want to challenge for the title, it’s that simple. Gonna keep this post short so you don’t have to read my elongated analysis and opinions on the games gone and games to come. Do or die for Cruzeiro now…