At last! Mano recalls Giuliano
For some time now, there has been a growing movement among football fans, all asking the same question:
When is Mano going to recall Giuliano?
It’s been a hot topic on this very site. Many people have long held out hope that Giuliano’s banishment to the wilderness of international football would only be temporary. After all, this is one of the gems of Ukrainian football we’re talking about. And it’s not like he plays for some scrub team like Shakhtar Donetsk or Dynamo Kiev. This is Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk! A team rich in history, a team at the vanguard of modern football, a team…
Okay, enough of that.
I know the big news is that Mano called up Kaka. I’m excited about that. Kaka doesn’t deserve to be called up, let there be no mistake, but I’m still excited. I personally wouldn’t have called him up, but I’m still excited. And I’ll have an article about Kaka’s (potential) place in the national team up this weekend. But to me, the only thing that really matters with this call-up isn’t really news; just a confirmation of what most of us already know.
Mano can’t do this job.
I mean seriously, Giuliano? Fernando? Victor? Hell, even Thiago Neves. Let’s leave aside the fact that he’s ignoring far more able midfielders like Hernanes and Diego in favor of Giuliano and Thiago Neves. (And even Kaka, to a lesser extent.) Let’s leave aside all the other egregious omissions that we’ve covered ad nauseum, like Filipe Luis, Michel Bastos, Fernando Reges…I could go on.
Giuliano? Fernando? Victor?
It’s gotten to the point that Mano is even ignoring players who played well for him! In what universe did Victor play better than Rafael when comparing their respective stints? And if you’re going to call up a Ukrainian-based player, how is not going to be Fernandinho, who quietly built up one of the most consistent stretches we’ve seen in the Mano era? And if you’re going to call up someone named Fernando, how does his name not have a Reges in it?
Mano doesn’t have a plan. He doesn’t even have a clue. There’s just no rhyme or reason to his selections, and I am positive he never watches half the players we clamor over on this blog. He is one of the most short-sighted, narrow-minded, bubble-wrapped managers I’ve ever seen. The truly frustrating thing is that I don’t think he’s unintelligent. When you read his comments about the nature of Brazilian football, about the problems it’s currently facing, about long-term development, about Brazil’s current identity crisis, he sounds thoughtful and observant, if a bit vague. His problem is either corruption or an extreme lack of self-awareness; an inability to apply any sort of critical thinking to his own decisions. He talks about returning to a more traditionally “Brazilian” style of play (which is and always will be a simplification of Brazil’s history) but then he repeatedly ignores players who are most qualified to play the style he professes to want. He ignores technically gifted, versatile and mobile players in favor of solid-but-limited role players like Ramires, Paulinho, Romulo, Ralf and Elias. He routinely eschews long-term dynamism in favor of short-term favoritism to appease the local fan base.
If this all sounds angry on my part, it’s not. I’m not feeling angry. I’m feeling fatigued. I’ve never felt fatigue when thinking of the Brazilian National Team before, not in the twenty-two years I’ve been watching them. I feel it now. Nothing will ever stop me from watching Brazil or circling dates on my calendar whenever they play. But Mano’s done what no one else before him could do: make me shrug my shoulders and just hope that a couple of twenty-year olds will somehow have enough talent to make up for the manager’s lack of it.
In the meantime, here’s a video of all of Kaka’s 27 goals for Brazil. He’s scored some cracking ones in his time.
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