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Futebol: The Brazillian Way of Life por Alex…
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Futebol: The Brazillian Way of Life (edição 2003)

por Alex Bellos (Autor), Socrates (Introdução)

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2044105,487 (3.82)24
A national passion and a passionate nation
Título:Futebol: The Brazillian Way of Life
Autores:Alex Bellos (Autor)
Outros autores:Socrates (Introdução)
Informação:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2003), Edition: New edition, 432 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life por Alex Bellos

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"Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life" é um livro tão espetacular que eu daria 6 estrelas se pudesse.
Não é apenas bem escrito e bem apurado - com referências acadêmicas, literárias, entrevistas, etc - mas investiga de forma brilhante como o Futebol existe como um espelho de nossa própria história enquanto nação.
É curioso que seja um inglês, cujo pensamento é tão diferente do nosso em tantos níveis, quem seja o condutor tão seguro desta narrativa.
O esforço feito para entender as questões paradoxais do país, nossa amálgama de contradições e bizarrices constantes, ganha um objetivo quando o futebol é usado como metáfora da nossa insanidade nacional.
Embora seja de 2002, ele recebeu um posfácio atualizado em 2014, por conta da (amaldiçoada) Copa do Mundo no Brasil.

Por fim, eu diria que até que despreza futebol deveria ler esse livro para auxiliá-lo no entendimento social, antropológico, político e compreender (ora com alegria, ora com revolta) muitos aspectos da alma nacional. ( )
  tarsischwald | Oct 23, 2021 |
Being such a massive country, with so many diverse environments, I expected this book to be packed full of variety and lots of examples of ways that the beautiful game is beloved in the 'País Tropical'. I was not disappointed. This is certainly a very entertaining and informative collection of essays compiled by the author while he worked as a British newspaper correspondent in the country over the years spanning the turn of the millennium. The chapters probe the many different cultural facets and major historic sporting events (and not-so-sporting) of Brazil's past and {almost} present. (The book is now in fact twelve years old, and perhaps it would be timely for an updated edition to have been published in the run up to the coming summer's football extravaganza. Perhaps there has since been one?)

Growing up on tales from my elders of the glorious World Cup winning sides of '58, '62, and '70, I was lucky enough as a boy to have witnessed the pure joy that was their wondrous 1982 World Cup team - famously underachieving and dismissed prematurely - led by Sócrates, Zico, and Éder. I also have a big love for Brazilian music - Samba, Bossa Nova, Batucada - Tom Jobim, Jorge Ben, and Sérgio Mendes among their greatest exponents. So, I shared Bellos' fascination with the country:

"I first wanted to know how a British game brought over a little over a century ago could shape so strongly the destiny of a tropical nation. How could something as apparently benign as a team sport become the greatest unifying factor of the world's fifth-largest country? What do Brazilians mean when they say with jingoistic pride, that they live in the 'football country'?"

Well, this book is replete with curious little facts and tangential stories which add something else to the understanding of the nation's love affair with the game. I learnt a lot. The heavyweight topic of the corruption in the society (ergo the sport) is covered in some depth in at least two extended chapters. But there's also plenty of fun here as you'd expect. Who knew, for example, that Brazil's second-bestselling chocolate bar - the 'Diamante Negro' ("...available in another ten countries, including Japan, Australia, and the USA...") - was named after the 1938 World Cup's 'Golden Boot' Leônidas (7 goals in 4 games; inventor/perfector of the bicycle kick), himself nicknamed by host nation France as 'Le Diamant Noir'? "When Leônidas returned home he was the most famous man in Brazil."

"Brazilian journalists started to use the transliteration 'futebol'. Futebol was not the game Charles Miller imported in 1894. Futebol was the sport that was played as a dance; it was the sport that united the country, and that showed its greatness."

Bellos uses poetry, song lyrics, and book references to further illustrate his writing. One of my favourite chapters - "The Fateful Final" - covers the story behind the game that for many Brazileiros has long lived in the memory as the nation's most important match. Not one of their many exciting triumphs as you'd rightly expect, but in fact their most traumatic defeat - that of the 1950 World Cup final, when as host nation for the first time, Brazil was defeated by their tiny neighbour Uruguay. The Brazilian goalkeeper Barbossa, unfairly blamed for the 2-1 defeat, was cruelly turned into a national pariah. His life became a tragedy:

"Barbossa was never allowed to forget 1950. Before he died, virtually penniless, in April 2000 he said that the saddest moment in his life was twenty years after the match. A woman in a shop spotted him. 'Look at him', she told her son. 'He is the man that made all of Brazil cry.'"

Wow! In "The Angel With Bent Legs" Bellos tells the heartbreaking story of the supremely talented and extraordinarily captivating player who is arguably the greatest of them all - Garrincha ('Little Bird'). "The poet Paulo Mendes Campos compared him to an artistic genius: 'Like a poet touched by an angel, like a composer following a melody that fell from the sky, like a dancer hooked to a rhythm, Garrincha plays football by pure inspiration and magic; unsuffering, unreserved and unplanned.'" We learn of how never before had a player so incredibly beguiling to behold with the ball at his feet, been so thoroughly exploited and eventually abandoned by those who had once profited from his skills and enjoyed his gift of natural ability. "Garrincha was the turf's idiot savant."

From the tragic Garrincha's rags to riches to rags life story, we are shown the spectacle of the carnival, and the importance of the football teams' own supporters clubs in those culturally significant processions. Chapters follow thick and fast on a variety of subjects: the fate of far-flung professionals plying their trade overseas in cold places like the Faroe Isles; tribal gatherings in the Amazon; the important roles of religion, ritual, ceremony and superstition in the game; lifestyles and obsessions of the rich and famous, and the poor and not-so-famous; the development of radio in tandem with football's popularity; where Brazilian footballers' nicknames come from - and why they matter; the case of the mysterious 'fit' suffered by star player Ronaldo prior to the 1998 World Cup final defeat; to name a few!

For me the best chapter though was kept until last. That covering the enigmatic star and captain of the national side of the '80s - Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, usually known as just 'Sócrates'. In many ways the Brazilian number 8 epitomised Brazilian football:

"With an aristocratic gait, wild black beard, head of unkempt hair and dark-eyed, pensive scowl, he really did look more like a philosopher than an athlete. His style of play also suggested a moral authority. He always kept his cool, hardly ever given to shows of 'Brazilian' exuberance, even when scoring goals...His trademark was the back-heel. Pelé said that Sócrates played better backwards than most footballers did forwards.

Apart from being a sublime footballer, in an era of military dictatorship, Sócrates was founder of the 'Corinthians Democracy' movement at his club. He was an articulate and vocal exponent of people's rights. Despite his athletic profession he was a smoker from the age of 13 and a heavy drinker as well. Sadly he passed away in 2011 at the age of 57.

This is a wonderful book. Well written, with pathos, humour, and lots of variety. There's a lot in it. It's well-illustrated, with two sections of colour plates, and black & white images throughout. The appendices include a detailed bibliography, Brazil's statistical history in the World Cup through the years, and a nice section describing the background, cultural affinities, key historic players, and the colours of the biggest and most notable clubs in the country. There's even an appendix on how to make a Brazilian football {from rubber latex} in four steps. My only complaint is that I'd have liked a bit more history of the game itself on the pitch, of the major teams and coaches through the years, as it's a little bit selective for this outsider. But I'm nitpicking. It's an excellent read for anyone who loves football or Brazil. Roll on a great festival of football at this year's World Cup!

Last word must go to the late great Sócrates:

'Brazilian culture - this mix of races, this form of seeing the world and life - is possibly our greatest natural resource. Because it is a very happy culture, it is not discriminatory, it's free...it's a big disaster zone, really, but it is the essence of humanity. When humanity organised itself too much it lost its instincts, its pleasures. I think this is what we have which is best, and that's why I'm absolutely in love with Brazil.'

Despite all its problems?

'We're a new, young nation, man. You've already had centuries of history. The Old World has had fifty years of stability. We are just being born.' ( )
6 vote Polaris- | Mar 8, 2014 |
"....It’s a magical, magical book. It tells the story of the whole country by telling the story of its football. My favourite story is probably the tale of Brazil hosting the World Cup for the first time in 1950. They built a new stadium, the Maracan, which was the biggest in the world – for 200,000 people. We think of Brazil as the greatest ever World Cup side but back then they still hadn’t ever won it. Everyone was so confident they would win in 1950 that the newspapers anointed them champions the day before the final. They lost 2-1. Out of the ashes of that came the Brazil that we know now..."( Reviewed by Steve Bloomfield in Fivebooks).

The full interview is available here: http://fivebooks.com/interviews/steve-bloomfield-on-world-football ( )
Esta crítica foi assinalada por vários utilizadores como um abuso dos termos do serviço. Por isso, não é mostrada (mostrar).
  FiveBooks | Jun 9, 2010 |
Fantastic look into the world of Brazilian football. A must for the soccer fan. ( )
  charlie68 | Jul 6, 2009 |
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But while Brazilians put Pelé on a pedestal, they do not love him they way they love Garrincha. It is more than the fact that tragic figures are naturally more appealing, since they are more human, although this probably helped. It is because Pelé does not reflect national desires. Pelé, above everything else, symbolises winning. Garrincha symbolises playing for playing's sake. Brazil is not a country of winner. It is a country of a people who like to have fun.
The picture that is emerging of Brazilian football is that it is a vast, unregulated bazaar of bartering players for personal gain. A modern day slavery - ascramble  to sign up the 'rights' to promising youngsters and then make money by selling them to the highest bidder. While a few cartolas and agents are becoming very rich, most clubs are left destitute, most players are impoverished, and the 'beautiful game' lies on the operating table.
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A national passion and a passionate nation

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