The greatest goal Pelé ever scored

IN RECENT years, the reputation of “football’s greatest-ever player” has been somewhat tarnished, and it is now widely pre-supposed that there’s nothing he won’t lend his name to, whether that’s FIFA’s improbably diverse list of the world’s greatest living players or treatments for erectile dysfunction. David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas’ new Netflix documentary, simply titled Pelé, […]

Copa Libertadores: When a crowd might have made a difference

IN THE end, we were spared 30 minutes of what might have been tedious extra time, thanks to a wonderful goal totally out of character with the rest of the Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro. Palmeiras scored it, clinching their second Libertadores title after 104 minutes of cagey, fractious and largely uninspiring football. […]

Copa Libertadores Final: Brazilian derby in an empty Maracanã

TWO old rivals from São Paulo face each other in the 2020 Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro, yet another big football match played in a supporter-free stadium. Brazil has had 8.8 million cases of covid-19 and over 200,000 deaths. Palmeiras and Santos meet in the Clássico da Saudade (the derby of nostalgia) with a difference, […]

Copa Libertadores heading for an all-Brazil final

THE COPA Libertadores has gradually become more global over the past two years, largely thanks to the 2018 debacle when Boca Juniors and River Plate met in the final in Madrid after a string of highly publicised disruptions in Argentina. The Buenos Aires duo are back in the semi-finals again, but after disappointing results in […]

Soccer City: Brasília – an idea that hasn’t captured football

NATION capitals are very often not the seat of power in football – London, for example, has enjoyed periods of domination, but over the course of the past 50 years, Manchester and Liverpool have been England’s dominant cities as far as the beautiful game is concerned. Across Europe, a similar tale is told – Germany, […]

Brazil’s 1970 triumph sowed the seeds for the global football market

WHEN Brazil captivated the world in 1970 with their wonderful football and charismatic team of all talents, all 22 members of their squad were playing in Brazil, half coming from São Paulo-based clubs. Of the 22, only one, Jairzinho, went on to play in Europe, and that was towards the end of his career. Others, […]