Ground From Above - Terrão de Cima by Renato Stockler

"A ‘terrão’ (earthen field) is an oasis in the urban landscape. The reddish tone of a soccer field turns into a stage for resistance of popular soccer. These fields are increasingly rare to be seen because of property speculation and land occupation, and they standing as a spirit of resilience." - Renato Stockler

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A First Person Lens of Futebol in Brazil

If you want to see the biggest tournament in any sport, go to the World Cup. If you really want to explore the country hosting the World Cup, visit it before the tournament kicks off. Davis Paul took his GoPro to Rio and São Paulo, explored favelas, went to legendary stadiums, and played barefoot with some of the Selecão’s next generation.

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Three Times and An Old Lady - AFR Voice Ep. 39

They’ve done it again. For the third year running the Scudetto will be sitting pretty in Juventus’ trophy cabinet after they took the title at the weekend without even having to kick a ball. On the show this week we take a look at what’s been another superb domestic season for the Old Lady, as well as trouble at the Coppa Italia final, a certain aging striker who might just find himself sneaking onto the plane to Brazil this Summer, and a 24 goal thriller in Serie D. And no, you didn’t read that wrong – 24 GOALS.

Things may be wrapped up in Italy, but the opposite can be said of La Liga. After a weekend when neither Barcelona, Atlético or Real Madrid managed to notch up a win the three-way title race continues to be wide open with only one thing now clear – it will be going down to the final day. So why not join us and get bogged down in the seemingly infinite potential outcomes involved in what’s going to be a truly great run-in for fans of permutations and confusing head-to-head records.

If that sounds a bit much, then things are a bit simpler in the Premier League where we cast a keen eye on a Man City side edging ever closer to the title, Chelsea running out of steam, and plenty of drama at the bottom of the table both on and off the pitch.

Away from Europe, we’ll head Down Under where a new A-League champion has been crowned after this weekend’s Grand Final between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers. Hear us talk through the game, as well as discuss why there could be a strong Aussie showing in next year’s Asian Champions League, and how the league moving away from big name players isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Dále, Kaká!

"I think that things are getting better for me, above all at my club. I’m playing more often at Madrid. The supporters are showing that they appreciate me and that is an extra motivation. Now I hope to make the most of this chance with Brazil."

Hampered by injuries for the latter part of his career, Kaká has worked persistently to regain his place, not only with Real Madrid, but with the Brazilian national team as well. Things are getting better, but there’s still room for improvement, and tonight, as Brazil takes on Italy, Ricky has a golden opportunity to prove himself once again.

From his first days with Sao Paulo until his last, how can you not be supporting Kaká for one last run with the Selecão? [Posted by Maxi]

São Paulo salute wonderkid and champion Lucas Moura with an ‘Obrigado’ as he heads to Paris

O moleque é campeão - the kid is a champion. Last night was Lucas Moura’s final game for São Paulo, a club he’s been a part of since the age of 13. Like many other Brazilians, golden boy Lucas leaves the team as champion and unsung hero, Europe now awaits him…

Through the magic of Lucas’s vision, São Paulo ended their four year trophy draught with a well-earned, but controversial Copa Sudamericana victory over Tigre. Despite the opposition choosing not to play the second half of the final due to security issues and alleged police violence, celebrations inside the São Paulo fortress, known as the Morumbi - recreated a typical Carnaval. And Lucas was the king.

When the moment came for their eternal captain Rogerio Ceni to lift the trophy, as seen on all previous 17 occasions, he gave the honour to Lucas Moura, the club’s superstar, who scored the first goal of the match. He told him:

"Lift up the trophy and write your name into eternity."

After lifting his first trophy for the club, the microphone was passed to an emotional Lucas, who addressed the 67,000 strong roaring Morumbi for one last time:

"I want to thank your support and love, if it wasn’t for you (the fans) then I woudln’t have the pleasure of entering the pitch with this shirt. This title is for you. I love São Paulo and one day I shall return to play for this club."

The entire team hugged the club’s number 7, who’s been their star since making his debut in 2010. He’s been a true artist, a dancer on the pitch and a hero to thousands. His performances in Brazil did not disappoint, which saw him pick up several accolades and attention from the old continent. Naturally, the offers came in, resulting in a horse race between Manchester United and PSG. His destination was the French capital, as he was persuaded by director Leonardo. São Paulo are also happy to see their prodigy move to France, as the Brazilian club will receive a grand €45m in return for his signature.

€45m is a sum higher than what was paid for Kaka, Oscar or Thiago Silva to go overseas; all of whom have flourished (or are flourishing) in Europe. But placing the millions aside, Lucas Moura leaves Brazil as a ‘golden boy’, another star of a promising generation and now as a champion. Greater challenges await him: playing with Zlatan, fighting to conquer PSG’s first Champions League and establishing himself amongst Europe’s best.

As Oscar departed to Chelsea in the summer, with Ganso slightly stagnating and Lucas Moura now flying to Paris; Neymar is the only main talent still shining in Brazil. However, we’ll see them all reunited next summer as they’re all expected to feature in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Até já, moleque! [Posted by o nosso Dom]

The case is closed. Ganso joins São Paulo in search for higher status and pay

By Gordon Fleetwood

It dragged on for what seemed like forever. Every time the deal was on the verge of completion, a new section was added to the negotiation’s maze. Eventually, the exit appeared. Just a day before the end of Brazil’s internal transfer window, Paulo Henrique Ganso completed his move from his boyhood club of Santos to their state rivals São Paulo. One of the most protracted and biggest transfers in recent Brazilian football history was finally brought to a close.  

The seeds of Ganso’s departure from Santos had been germinating for a while now, but the manner in which they grew was surprising. It was expected that his new home after Santos would be in the Old World, after the midfielder chose from among his many European suitors. However, a rash of injuries and a subsequent drop in form over the past year and a half meant that the noise of interest from abroad was just above a whisper. Most of the decibels present around the twenty-two year old were generated by the player himself. 

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Lazio Sign Brazilian Ace Hernanes

Lazio have completed the signing of Hernanes from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo. The creative midfielder is one of country’s most talented players and has been compared to Kaka on several occasions. The transfer is rumoured to cost €14m(£11.5m) with the 25 year old agreeing a 5 year contract. The new Lazio player was closely monitored by several European clubs and rejected moves to Barcelona and AC Milan in the past. Hernanes believes that he has left Brazil at the right stage in his career.

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The Brazilian Football System: Confusion, Disorganization, Opportunity!

By Fernando Sell

The football season in Brazil normally begins in the second or third week of January and ends in early December. A Brazilian season practically lasts one year; it is packed with matches and tournaments.

Firstly, the State Championships take place which is where all the clubs of one state compete. The states in Brazil are huge and have many big clubs in them, for example, in the state of São Paulo the biggest clubs are: Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and Santos. The Championships runs across a period of three to four months, ending in late April or early May. The most popular ones are “Carioca” – State of Rio de Janeiro, “Paulista” – São Paulo, “Mineiro” - Minas Gerais and Gaúcho – Rio Grande do Sul.

The format of the Championships varies. Some have a normal league format, with clubs playing home and away fixtures, the 1st and 2nd place team playing in the final. Other Championships play one round of matches and then go into the knockout round.

I believe that the State Championships should cease. They make the big clubs sacrifice their pre-season because they play many games against smaller and weaker clubs. The level and quality of football is much lower and top teams don’t always take it seriously. Furthermore, the winning teams don’t benefit from their winning form; their performances in the national league are very different.

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