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Discussie: Campeonato Brasileiro Série A

  1. #271
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    - Anderson (Manchester United) turned down a loan offer from Flamengo as he feared he would not get paid when it's due, reports Fox Sports Brasil.l In Brazil, Flamengo aside, nobody seem to want him. He was offered to Atlético Mineiro and Santos and both refused to sign him.

    - : São Paulo set to sign Michel Bastos, according to ESPN Brasil. He played the 2010 World Cup and was at Roma last season.

    - Diego Souza (Metalist) and Ibson (Bologna) have been loaned to Sport until the end of the Brazilian season.

    - Ronaldinho Gaúcho is in talks with Santos, according to Globo Esportes, but Santos still denying it.

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  3. #272
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    http://www.voetbalzone.nl/doc.asp?uid=231439

    Wat een speler was dit, een legende. Zeer onderschatte speler, hij zal gemist worden.

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  5. #273
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    The football season that never ends

    Brazilian football is hamstrung by its calendar, while Minas Gerais duo remain favourites for silverware in 2015

    Exactly one month after the 2014 season came to a close, the majority of Brazil’s big football clubs got together last week to begin their pre-season training. In under 20 days, these teams will play their first competitive match of the Brazilian season, one of the longest and most demanding campaigns in the sport, comprising several competitions and precious little rest.

    São Paulo FC, as an example, will play a bare minimum of 62 competitive matches in 2015. If they advance beyond the first round of the bloated São Paulo state championships, the Copa do Brasil and the Copa Libertadores (all of which are extremely likely), that figure would surpass 70 matches. Were they to reach the finals in all competitions (unlikely, but not impossible), they would have contested 81 games over the space of 44 weeks.

    This obvious overkill of football has a predictably high number of negative consequences for the game in Brazil. The most important of these is the detrimental effect this calendar has on the quality of football being played. The hectic schedule allows a minimal amount of time for squads to train together, with players spending the days between matches catching their collective breaths rather than developing tactical strategy or working on their skills. As a result, Brazilian league matches are often turgid events, littered with fouls and misplaced passes, with results usually decided by goals from set-piece situations.

    The spectacle is disappearing, fans are put off by the lack of quality and scandalous ticket prices, pitches are ravaged due to not having sufficient time to recover and even with the golden opportunity of having the World Cup in their back yard last year, the popularity of the Brazilian domestic game has not increased overseas. For those of us left behind, the devoted fans, regardless of how tedious the league may be, all that remains is the hope of a brighter future.

    Things move quickly in Brazilian football. One week away from the game and you are likely to miss a manager losing his job, a high-profile falling out, a headline transfer move and the birth of a new craque. During the off-season, this is intensified, with clubs trying to pack months’ worth of rebuilding into the space of a few weeks.

    Brazil’s anticlimactic state championships all but destroy the magical pre-season anticipation found in other leagues around the world, but with so many changes and question marks, there is still plenty to fill the pages of Brazilian sport pull-outs in the month of January.

    Over the next few weeks, I shall be posting a series of blogs looking forward to the Brazilian football in 2015, focusing on several big clubs and the questions surrounding them going into this new season, beginning with a trip to the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais.

    For the last two years, Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro, Minas’ big two from the state capital of Belo Horizonte, have ruled the roost in domestic Brazilian football. The former, with their iconic ocean blue shirts, have won the national championship two years in a row and should be the favourites to clinch a third successive title in 2015, a feat only achieved once previously, by Muricy Ramalho’s São Paulo side of 2006-2008.

    Cruzeiro’s secret has been in their stability, which has in turn bred consistency. For the last decade, while under the presidency of the “Perrela brothers”, the club had a reputation for being mismanaged, with woeful transfer policy and rumours of shady behind-the-scenes activities. When Zezé Perrela (now a Senator for the State of Minas Gerais) left the club in 2011, he did so on the back of a disastrous season in which Cruzeiro avoided relegation by only two points.

    His successor, Gilvan Tavares, has managed to successfully transform Cruzeiro into one of the best run clubs in the country. As opposed to the “savage capitalism” approach adopted by the Perrelas, the transfer policy of Tavares’ Cruzeiro is far more intelligent. There is no annual rush to cash in on every remotely talented footballer in the squad as would happen under the previous regime, instead the club look to maintain the spine of their team year on year, only selling when the time (and price) is judged to be right.

    Another key factor to their recent success has been coach Marcelo Oliveira. In his time at Cruzeiro he has been able to form an effective tactical system, but far more important has been his ability to manage his squad.

    In recent years, Cruzeiro have had one of the deepest rosters in Brazilian football, with several talented options available in key positions, as well as promising youngsters pushing the senior players for places. Generally, the more the merrier when it comes to personnel in Brazil, especially considering the gruelling calendar, but this pressure cooker of egos so often ends up exploding all over the manager’s face. Where Oliveira has succeeded is in keeping his entire squad happy, rotating and substituting at the right time, making sure everyone feels valued.

    marcelo-oliveira
    Cruzeiro head coach Marcelo Oliveira is hoping to lead his side to a third consecutive national championship in 2015. Photograph: Washington Alves/Vipcomm
    In these last few victorious seasons, Cruzeiro have always had some form of rebuilding to do, but thanks to being able to hold on to most of their first team year on year, it has been minimal. This off-season, however, could be the exception. Marcelo Moreno, their long-haired Bolivian goal-getter, has left Cruzeiro after a season-long loan, returning to parent club Grêmio. In an attempt to replace him, the club has moved for Santos’ Leandro Damião, generally regarded as one of the biggest flops in Brazilian football in 2015.

    There is no doubt that Cruzeiro is a better fit for Damião than Santos – the champions focus a lot of their attacks on high balls into the penalty area, where the 17-times capped striker excels – but Cruzeiro’s system requires their No 9 to be a lot more than just an aerial threat. The reason Marcelo Moreno was so successful at Cruzeiro was his off-the-ball movement, creating space for the attacking midfield trio to infiltrate the area and score goals. Leandro Damião is far more cumbersome than the Bolivian, and may struggle to fulfil the role asked of him.

    Elsewhere, last year’s star player Ricardo Goulart seems set to sign for Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, reliable left-back Egídio is on his way to Ukraine to play for Dnipro, while talented midfielder Lucas Silva is likely to join Real Madrid at some point during Europe’s winter transfer window. Cruzeiro have recruited Chilean midfielder Felipe Seymour to fill Silva’s shoes, and although it will be interesting to see how he gets on in Brazil, it certainly feels like the Foxes will go into 2015 with a considerably weaker side than in previous years.

    While Cruzeiro have been the gold standard in consistency, the best side over the course of a 38-game season, their city rivals Atlético Mineiro have proved themselves to be the knockout specialists. When the stakes are high and the chips are down, there are few teams capable of getting past Atlético, including Cruzeiro.

    After going through a transformation not too dissimilar to Cruzeiro’s in 2011 (albeit with the same president, the outspoken Alexandre Kalil), Atlético managed to build a team that dazzled spectators, led by attacking coach Cuca and his number 10: Ronaldinho Gaúcho. In a campaign that had several last-minute winners, incredulous comebacks and saved penalties, Atlético were crowned the best in South America after winning the 2013 Copa Libertadores, the first time the club had lifted the continent’s grand prize. Even with the odds stacked against them, Atlético always pulled through, playing an extremely fast tempo brand of football which constantly forced their opponents into making mistakes and became known as estilo galo doido, or “crazy rooster style”, a play on the club’s nickname, Galo.

    Earlier last year, however, many thought the Galo bubble had burst. They had embarrassed themselves at the 2013 Club World Cup, not reaching the anticipated final against Bayern Munich and losing to Raja Casablanca in the semi-finals; coach Cuca had gone to China; nippy winger Bernard was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk; Ronaldinho was playing poorly and on his way out and new coach Levir Culpi seemed unable to control his squad.

    The 2014 Copa do Brasil dispelled those doubts and marked the return of the galo doido. Curly-haired Luan took Bernard’s old role on the flank, Argentine midfielder Jesús Dátolo, who had gotten off to a slow start to his Atlético career the previous year, became a critical part of the team, scoring seven goals and laying on 20 assists in all competitions, while Diego Tardelli seemed to be playing in five positions at once in attack, capping a superb return to form with a call-up to the Brazilian national team. The dramatic turnarounds returned, and Atlético marched on to the Copa do Brasil title, playing their rivals Cruzeiro off the park in the two-legged final.

    This January the doubts have returned, all revolving around one issue: Diego Tardelli, will he stay, or will he go? The forward seems set on securing a transfer to Chinese football, the announcement of which could happen any day now. If he is to leave, Atlético will soon reach the harsh conclusion that he is irreplaceable. That is not to say that Galo are destined to fall short of expectations without Tardelli, however his departure would force a style change at the club, as there is no-one available on the market that would be capable of performing his function.

    Striker Lucas Pratto has arrived from Argentinian club Vélez Sarsfield, where he has been elected player of the year for the past two seasons, but he offers the team a different threat, more physical and able to lead the line, with a touch of flair and creativity thrown in. If Tardelli stays, they could form a very formidable partnership; if he leaves, Culpi’s reshuffle will no doubt be designed around his new Argentinian striker.

  6. #274
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    Everton Ribeiro heeft gekozen voor een avontuur in het Midden- Oosten, en gaat spelen voor Al Alhi. Hij speelde ook al enkele wedstrijden voor de nationale ploeg van Brazilië, en de ex speler van Cruzeiro stond ook in de belangstelling van diverse Europese clubs.

  7. #275
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    - Santos have accepted €10M from Beijing Guoan for 35-yo striker Ricardo Oliveira.

    Dat zou een fantastische deal zijn voor Santos, en dan kan ook eindelijk Gabigol weer in de punt van de aanval spelen.

    - Brazil squad for the next WC Quals games (Uruguay+Paraguay) to be called up on 3 March, training starts on 21 March.

  8. #276
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    Gabriel ( Gabigol) Barbosa heeft zijn contract bij Santos verlengd tot 2021, en er is een transferclausule ingepast dat hij voor 42 miljoen euro mag vertrekken.

    - Ganso staat in de belangstelling van Sevillla. De vraagprijs zou ongeveer 10 miljoen zijn.

    - Leandro Damião has passed the medical at Flamengo, he is expected to be officially announced by Flamengo by tomorrow.

  9. #277
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    Momenteel is Atletico MG - Palmeiras bezig. De thuisploeg had de eerste 25 minuten het iniatief, en kreeg de meeste kansen. Echter de eerste kans voor Palmeiras werd meteen gescoord door Gabriel Jesus ( geweldige pass van Dudu). Indien Palmeiras hier wint staan ze 6 punten voor op nummer 2 Santos ( die wonnen eerder vanavond met 3-2 van Vitoria). Er zijn hierna nog 3 speelrondes in Brazilië.

    - Gabriel Jesus has scored 1-0 for Palmeiras vs Atlético Mineiro, this is his first goal for Palmeiras since 14 September.

    Pratto scoort de 1-1 ( assist Robinho).
    Laatst gewijzigd door kitno; 18 november 2016 om 01:21

  10. #278
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    Chapecoense's Martinuccio missed flight due to injury

    The striker was due to travel with his team-mates on their tragic journey, but ended up staying in Brazil to work on his fitness

    Chapecoense striker Alejandro Martinuccio has explained how an injury ultimately spared him from travelling with his team-mates on the flight that crashed in Colombia on Monday.

    The Brazilian team were travelling to Medellin for their Copa Sudamericana final first leg against Atletico Nacional when their plane came down in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union.

    Colombian air authorities have confirmed that at least 75 people on board were killed, with six individuals - including players Alan Ruschel, Jackson Follmann and Helio Hermito Zampier Neto - named as survivors.

    Martinuccio had been due to travel with the rest of his 22 team-mates on board, but stayed in Brazil to continue his recovery.

    Chapecoense share celebration video to honour victims

    The 28-year-old has since joined a growing number of people who have gathered to await more news at the club's stadium, the Arena Conda.

    "It's a very difficult moment. I woke up with the news. I'm very sad," he told La Red.

    "I've been recovering from an injury and I didn't travel. I got injured a month and a half ago and that's why I wasn't on the plane.

    Fan tribute to fallen stars

    "I came to the club a little while ago. Everyone here is waiting for news of something. Nobody knows anything, it's just waiting and waiting. There are five survivors and nothing more [that we know about].

    "This is a wonderful club, with some first-class players. Everyone is very sad. All this is really difficult.

    "We hope that there is a miracle from God. All I can ask for is that you pray for my team-mates who were on the flight."

    Igor Damo, a priest in attendance at the ground to offer comfort to the hundreds of relatives and supporters present, told the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper: "There isn't much to say right now. We have been praying lots and hugging each other. It is a time for hugs."

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  12. #279
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    Chapecoense suffer the cruellest end to heroic Copa Sudamericana adventure.

    The club's plane went down just minutes away from Medellin, transforming what had been an incredible journey to the final of the Copa Sudamericana into tragedy

    COMMENT
    It was a scene that plays out hundreds of times every week across the world of football. Chapecoense's heroic players and staff milled around Sao Paulo's Guarulho airport ahead of their overnight flight to Santa Cruz in Bolivia and then on to Medellin, where on Wednesday they would take on Atletico Nacional in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final.

    Heaven has a new team of champions

    The video shows plenty of tired faces, as one would expect, but also smiles and excitement at the prospect of making history. The Brazilian club had come from nowhere to earn the right to fight for silverware, and simply making the final marked a fantastic achievement for all those involved.

    But now, as the club's dreams perished along with 76 lives just five kilometres outside of the Colombian city, those young faces impatiently waiting to board the plane will be forever associated with a tragedy that has shaken South American football to its very core.

    As rescue efforts continue unabated in the dense jungle outside Medellin, hampered by poor visibility and conditions, early reports were understandably unclear. It is believed at this early stage that an electrical fault was responsible for the charter jet going down minutes before beginning its descent into the Jose Maria Cordova airport, and seven passengers were retrieved alive from the wreckage.

    The sleepy city of Chapeco is not accustomed to tragedy. Nestled in the rich farming belt of Brazil in the west of Santa Catarina state, it is known far more for its agricultural production than its footballing prowess. Chapecoense were one of the very first teams from the region to battle for titles at a state level following their foundation in 1973, winning the Catarinense crown just four years later over traditional Florianopolis powerhouses Figueirense and Avai.

    Football unites behind Chapecoense

    In 2014 the side won entry to the elite of Brazilian football, Serie A, for the very first time, and this year made their maiden appearance in a continental tournament just seven years after winning promotion from the bottom-tier Serie D. It was an incredible rise up the rankings, but Chape were not ready to rest just yet.

    The adventure began with victory over fellow Brazilians Cuiaba, but a meeting with Argentine giants Independiente, seven-time Copa Libertadores champions, appeared to signal an early exit. But Chapecoense had other ideas. The underdogs frustrated their more illustrious rivals over two goalless ties, before goalkeeper Danilo - who survived the crash, only to pass away later in hospital - sent his team into the quarter-finals with a series of heroic penalty saves.

    Colombia's Junior were the next to fall, downed 3-0 in the deciding leg after winning by one goal in Barranquilla as Chape ran riot in front of their own fans. And, after two impossibly tense meetings with San Lorenzo, a place in the final was secured on away goals.

    "If I should die today, I would be happy," coach Caio Junior, a veteran of several top Brazilian clubs in his long career on the bench, told reporters before parting for Santa Cruz. Those words now feel tragically prophetic, a statement of unrestrained joy made only too true by fate.

    ’Chapecoense were a family’

    The tragedy goes much further than those unfortunate enough to be on the plane. Argentine forward Alejandro Martinuccio had joined Chape at the start of the 2016 season in a bid to get a once promising career back on track following years of injury woe. The ex-Penarol player, who took on Neymar in the club's 2011 Copa Libertadores final loss at the hands of Santos, continued to struggle with his fitness, and was disappointed to see his chances of taking on Nacional ended by another injury.

    But that disappointment soon turned to grief. "Please pray for my team-mates," he pleaded on Twitter as the scale of the disaster unfolded, and the player will need close attention to recover from the shock of seeing his friends and colleagues enveloped in a heart-breaking event. As will Alan Ruschel, Neto and Jakson Follman, the three members of the Chape team that at the time of writing were rescued alive from the smouldering wreckage of the plane.

    Medellin has a fearsome reputation in aviation circles as a dangerous place to fly. On June 24, 1935, a crash in the city claimed the lives of legendary tango singer Carlos Gardel and 16 others, in the process forever linking Medellin with Argentina in a bond only tragedy can forge. In 1967 a plane carrying the Racing Club squad to a Copa Libertadores encounter with Independiente Medellin suffered a technical fault, leaving those on board fearing for their lives. "If we survive this, we will be champions", the Academia stars told each other, and they were right; the craft eventually righted itself, and the side went on to lift the famous trophy before downing Celtic in the Intercontinental Cup.

    But for Chapecoense there will be no fairytale. This tiny club has been ripped to pieces by the tragedy, losing all but a handful of the first-team squad and facing the prospect of rebuilding from scratch with the darkest of shadows hanging over them. But they will gain strength from the incredible solidarity shown from around the football world, from their prospective final opponents to the sides beaten on the way to the showpiece and teams such as Manchester United and Torino, who have their own bitter experience of aircraft tragedies.

    And they will be back. The Brazilians have suffered the cruellest of fates just hours away from the biggest moment in their history, and the underdogs deserve to rebuild from the ashes of Medellin and return to the biggest stage. For now, however, Chape deserve to be in all our thoughts, as news of one of the worst football tragedies ever to hit South America leaves the entire world in grief.

  13. #280
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    Die stilte. Ziek zeg.


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  17. #282
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    ]

    In Rio, Jesus the Redeemer is all green as act of consolidation with Chapecoense.
    ]

    Chapecoense fans walked to the stadium while chanting the names of all the ones who died, including goalkeeper Danilo.

    - Palmeiras coach Cuca:

    "I would trade winning the Brazilian league to spare the death of lives without hesitation. What happened is tragic."

    - In an official CBF statement, TITE has expressed his sadness following the tragedy and has asked God to give power for their families.
    Laatst gewijzigd door kitno; 30 november 2016 om 01:12

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  19. #283
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    Ik las dat de Argentijnse selectie toen ze tegen Brazilië moesten spelen, in datzelfde vliegtuig zaten.

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    2017 Brasileirão Preview – Brazil Serie A Predictions & Players to Watch

    Predictions are hard, especially when it comes to football.

    You know what makes them harder? Trying to pick what will happen in a league in which 38 matches are crammed into the span of six and a half months all while some of the best teams will spend up to a quarter of those matches fielding reserve sides with an eye on continental competition.

    But we’ve reached that point of the year again where I attempt to make sense of what will happen in this year’s Brasileirão.

    This will be my third year trying to peg down this league, and I’ll be looking to use the lessons learned over the past two years to make these predictions better than ever.

    With the state leagues now behind us, let’s get into who I think will go down, who will be playing Copa Libertadores football next year, and, most importantly, who will raise the trophy as champions this December.

    In reverse order of predicted finish, here are my predictions for the 2017 Brasileirão:

    Relegated:
    Atlético-Goianiense:
    It’s great to see Atlético-GO back in the top flight for the first time since 2012 after winning Série B last year, but it’s tough to see them making their stay a long one.

    For the most part, this is a side made up of players who couldn’t stick at other clubs.

    It’s tough to stay up with a team like that, and it doesn’t look like more help will be coming. 19-year-old João Pedro put up some impressive numbers (4 goals in 9 matches) during his debut state league campaign, but it’ll be difficult for him to repeat that in the national league.



    Negueba is a player who intrigued me during his time with Coritiba, but struggled to stick with Grêmio last year.

    27-year-old Júnior Viçosa paced the team with 10 goals in 2016, and will have to repeat that number to keep this side in matches.

    At the back, journeyman centre back Roger Carvalho will look to anchor a defense that will have to be rock solid if Dragão are to stay up.

    All in all, it’s hard to see all of that happening. I don’t think Atlético-GO will be América bad, but I don’t think they’ll be good enough to stay up either.



    Avaí:
    Avaí did well to bounce back up from Série B after their 2015 relegation, but it’s difficult to see this club doing anything but yo-yoing straight back down.

    If Avaí do stay up, it’ll be because Claudinei Oliveira gets the most out of his defence, anchored by Betão and the wonderfully named Alemão.

    Up front, 21-year-old Denílson, who spent last season in Azerbaijan, is an intriguing prospect, as is Romulo, one of the longest tenured players in the squad.

    A lot will be asked of the 35-year old midfielder Marquinhos. He can place a free-kick or a set piece with the best of them, but he’s struggled to stay healthy.

    If Avaí defend well, get a lot out of their young attackers, and keep Marquinhos healthier than in years past, they could stay up. If not, it looks like Avaí will be heading straight back down.



    Ponte Preta:
    What Ponte Preta did in the São Paulo state league was impressive.

    Ponte eliminated both Santos and Palmeiras en route to the final where they were decidedly handled by Corinthians, falling just short of what would have been the first Paulistão title in their 116 year history.

    Ponte Preta:
    What Ponte Preta did in the São Paulo state league was impressive.

    Ponte eliminated both Santos and Palmeiras en route to the final where they were decidedly handled by Corinthians, falling just short of what would have been the first Paulistão title in their 116 year history.



    That said, I’ve been burned before by teams making a state league run only to fall flat in the national competition.

    Ponte will lose their best goalscorer, William Pottker, who is off to Internacional, and it doesn’t look as though they’ll have a replacement goal-scorer handy.

    Ponte will look to play off the counter, but that will only get them so far. I don’t buy into Yago and Fábio Ferreira as top-level centre backs, and without Pottker up top I think that this team will rely too much on Lucca to score goals unless someone like Lins or Clayson, who may be off to Corinthians, step up.

    Add it all up, and despite an impressive performance in the state leagues, I think Ponte’s going down.



    Vasco da Gama:
    If relegation was decided on squad talent alone, Vasco would almost certainly be safe. But as Internacional showed last year, talent alone can’t save a team from relegation.

    Vasco have yo-yoed between the first and second division since 2013, and I think that’s a trend that will continue in 2017.

    Vasco have a stable of talented players, but unfortunately for them all of their key contributors are over the age of 30.

    36-year-old Luís Fabiano, who’s spent the majority of his last tenure in Brazil in an offside position, is the most dangerous goalscoring threat.

    Nenê, now 35, almost singlehandedly saved Vasco from relegation in 2015 but at some point age will surely catch up to the talented midfielder.

    Rodrigo, Rafael Marques, Dos Santos, Martín Silva, Andrezinho: the names of contributors over the age of 30 goes on and on.

    It’s not out of the question for Vasco to struggle to find consistency, and for that ultimately to send them down.

    Every year, one of the big names finds themselves in the relegation discussion, and while the amount of time spent in the Série B by Vasco over the past years likely disqualifies them from being called a “big name”, I think 2018 will be yet another even-numbered year with Vasco in the second division.



    Barely safe:
    Coritiba:
    Nothing about Coritiba inspires confidence, other than the fact that they’ve managed to stay in the first division for six consecutive years now, despite finishing in the top half of the table just once over that time period.

    In a league known for volatility, that is a remarkable run of consistency.

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    By now, the blueprint is drawn up for how Coritiba will manage to stay afloat: they’ll defend well, Coxa allowed just a tick over a goal per match the last four years in the top division, take points at any chance they can, and do just enough to stay up by the end of the year.

    The goals will mostly come via their 33-year old striker Kléber, who scored 23 goals across all competitions last year.

    Again, Coritiba won’t ever impress you, but they’ll do enough this year to run this story back again next year.



    Vitória:
    If Coritiba plan to stay up by defending their way into as many points as possible, Vitória plan to stay up by scoring as many goals as they can.

    Vitória scored goals at a good clip last year and their 51 goals left them fifth among Brasileirão teams in goals scored.

    However, their defending was woeful, with their 53 goals conceded fifth worst among teams in goals against.

    Vitória:
    If Coritiba plan to stay up by defending their way into as many points as possible, Vitória plan to stay up by scoring as many goals as they can.

    Vitória scored goals at a good clip last year and their 51 goals left them fifth among Brasileirão teams in goals scored.

    However, their defending was woeful, with their 53 goals conceded fifth worst among teams in goals against.



    Up top, Kieza and André Lima are both players with proven goal scoring records in Brazil.

    In the midfield, Vitória possess a number of intriguing playmakers: Colombian Sherman Cárdenas, and Cleiton Xavier chief among them.

    How Vitória’s 2017 campaign goes could very well depend on if this side is able to stay fit. When healthy, Vitória’s attack could ask questions of even the best back line in Brazil. That said, Vitória’s defense will be under a lot of pressure if the midfield fails to stay free from injury and the goals fail to come.

    They will find themselves in the relegation conversation, and might go through some dry spells, but they’ll stay healthy enough and score enough to stay up.



    Chapecoense:
    Everyone is aware of the challenges that Chapecoense will face this season.

    Early returns suggest that this squad will be able to put up a good fight in the Brasileirão this campaign.

    Chape have elected to fill their squad with players that are experienced, if not flashy. Though they’ll probably fall short of qualification in their Copa Libertadores group, they’ve had their moments in that competition, and were able to take home the title in the Santa Catarina state league.

    From a purely footballing standpoint, Chapecoense won’t impress but they’re disciplined, will defend well, and should be able to do enough to stay in the first division.

    33-year-old Wellington Paulista is the best goalscoring threat. In defence, Nathan and João Pedro, two players on loan from defending champions Palmeiras, are two younger players worth keeping an eye on.

    Again, it won’t be flashy, but it will be enough for Chapecoense, and that’s worth celebrating.



    Midtable:
    Atlético-PR:
    Atlético Paranaense managed to sneak into the final Libertadores spot in 2016 thanks in large part to their defence, which conceded just 32 goals — tied for best in the competition.

    So far in 2017, despite advancing into the Libertadores group stage, Furacão have yet to really impress, and it doesn’t seem like that will be changing soon.

    What Atlético-PR lack is the type of game-changing playmaker that many of the best teams in South America have.

    Once upon a time, Lúcho González was that, but at 36, the Argentine is resigned to sit and provide from a deeper position.

    That’s an unfortunate theme for Furacão. With a few exceptions, 24-year old Felipe Gedoz chief among them, nearly every key contributor seems to be up there in age.

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    Gonález is joined by the 34-year-old Eduardo da Silva, and 38-year-old Grafite up front, while Jonathan and Paulo André, both over 30, anchor the defence.

    It’s hard to see this Paranaense side defending as well as they did last year, and based on the evidence presented so far in the Libertadores, it wouldn’t be wise to expect them to score at a great rate either.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see them flirting around the relegation zone at points in 2017.

    In the end they’ll do enough to avoid that unfortunate fate, but I don’t expect 2017 to bring the same successes that 2016 brought.



    Sport Recife:
    For someone looking for a Brazilian club to support and wants to stay away from any of the bigger sides, I would wholeheartedly suggest getting behind Sport.

    Sport are the northernmost team in the Brasileirão and represent the football-mad region of Brazil known as the nordeste.

    Their red and gold kits are sharp, and they play in an ageing stadium known as the Ilha do Retiro. Built in 1937, when full, the Ilha is one of the toughest places to play in Brazil.

    Midfielder Diego Souza, who has been with the team for the better part of four years now (his brief stint at Fluminense last year notwithstanding) is a fan favourite, and always provides entertainment.

    Better yet, he wears the number 87 in honour of Sport’s claim to the 1987 Brasilerião title, a source of constant contention between Sport and Flamengo.

    André and Leandro Pereira are both interesting players in attack, and Sport are generally a safe bet for goals.

    At the back end of things, 40-year-old goalkeeper Magrão has been with the club since 2005, and I’m intrigued to see how the Chilean Eugenio Mena gets along in defence after struggles at both Cruzeiro and São Paulo in recent years.

    Sport may not make a run for the title, or even the Libertadores, but this is an entertaining side that will pick up a few scalps as the year goes on, and are nearly always a good bet for entertainment.



    São Paulo:
    São Paulo made a number of intriguing changes this offseason, primarily the naming of club legend Rogério Ceni as manager.

    The early returns on Ceni as a manager are mixed, with his side bowing out of the São Paulo state league in the semi-final stage to bitter rivals Corinthians, while also dropping out of the Copa do Brasil to Cruzeiro.

    But it seems that Ceni will get time to work with this side, and as long as they don’t dip dangerously close to relegation, he should be able to see this year out before making a real go of things next year.

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    Peruvian midfielder Christian Cueva and Argentine striker Lucas Pratto will be tasked with making the goals. Cueva, who came over from Mexican side Toluca midway through 2016, has been particularly impressive this year.

    Centre back Rodrigo Caio should be off to Europe sooner rather than later, but may stick around ahead of the 2018 World Cup in an attempt to play himself into the Brazil squad.

    Perhaps the biggest question mark for Ceni will be who starts in his old stomping ground between the sticks.

    34-year old Sidão did well with Botafogo last year, but suffered an injury during the Paulistão that could make the decision between him, Denis, and Renan Ribeiro in goal an interesting one for Rogério.

    São Paulo will have their impressive moments, but it’s hard to see them really asserting themselves on the Libertadores discussion.



    Bahia:
    After a two year stint in the second division, Bahia, in all of their red and blue striped glory, are back in the first division.

    Bahia have the best kits in Brazil for my money, and the football should be good this year as well.

    24-year old Régis, with six goals in this year’s Copa do Nordeste, is the player to keep an eye on. He’ll pull the strings in the midfield, but can also go forward and score when called upon.

    Bahia:
    After a two year stint in the second division, Bahia, in all of their red and blue striped glory, are back in the first division.

    Bahia have the best kits in Brazil for my money, and the football should be good this year as well.

    24-year old Régis, with six goals in this year’s Copa do Nordeste, is the player to keep an eye on. He’ll pull the strings in the midfield, but can also go forward and score when called upon.



    Hernane Brocador, whose 11 goals paced Bahia in the second division last year, will be the main threat from the No 9 role.

    Bahia have invested with the intention of making their stay in the top division a long one.

    Colombian international Pablo Armero headlined the offseason signings, and though he is no stranger to controversy, he’s still a solid footballer that should fit right in to what’s expected of a fullback in Brazil.

    The Argentine Augustín Allione, on loan from Palmeiras, is another player I rate, and think will contribute well this campaign.

    I may be a bit higher on this side than others, but I think Régis will impress, Hernane will score, and Armero and Allione will prove to be good additions.



    Botafogo:
    Much like Atlético-PR, Botafogo slipped into the Libertadores at the end of last year then proceeded to exceed expectations by advancing to the group stage.

    Fogão are managed by one of the up and coming managerial talents in Brazil in Jair Ventura.

    Jair has done well in his time with the club, but his squad is quite clearly at a level below that of the main contenders in the Brasileirão.

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    Camilo and Montillo are nice pieces in the midfield, but both have struggled to stay healthy and, even when they are fit, aren’t surrounded by good enough players for their skills to really shine through.

    Roger and Rodrigo Pimpão aren’t exactly bad players in attack, but neither has the confidence or ability to finish with 10 or more goals in a year.

    At the back, Botafogo again have decent pieces, especially Paraguayan goalkeeper Gatito Fernández, but nothing that is overly impressive.

    Botafogo will get good results this year, and will probably generally avoid poor ones, but there will always be this feeling that this is a squad one or two pieces short to really have a good campaign.



    Just missing out on Libertadores qualification:
    Corinthians:
    Following the departure of Tite to manage the national team last year, Corinthians took part in Brazil’s managerial merry-go-round with both Cristovão Borges and Oswaldo de Oliveira getting a chance at the helm of Timão.

    Neither were particularly successful, and rather than jump back onto the merry-go-round Corinthians appointed Fábio Carille as manager last December.

    Carille has been successful in the first part of 2017, winning the São Paulo state league ahead of more talented favourites Palmeiras and Santos.

    Aside from Jadson, who has returned after a year in China, Corinthians won’t wow you with their talent but they are a disciplined side that will defend well and force other teams to break them down.

    Jô (yes, the same one that once plied his trade for Manchester City) has had a knack for scoring big goals this year for Timão, and should continue at a respectable goal-scoring pace.

    Corinthians lack the one or two players that can get them over the hump and into the Libertadores, but this will be a strong, disciplined side that no favourite will want to face.



    Santos:
    Santos might just be the toughest team to peg in this year’s Brasileirão.

    Lucas Lima was inconsistent last year but has been on good form so far in 2017, pulling strings in the midfield as a real number 10 should.

    Ricardo Oliveira, now 37, missed some time during the Paulistão and has only recorded 3 goals this year.

    Santos:
    Santos might just be the toughest team to peg in this year’s Brasileirão.

    Lucas Lima was inconsistent last year but has been on good form so far in 2017, pulling strings in the midfield as a real number 10 should.

    Ricardo Oliveira, now 37, missed some time during the Paulistão and has only recorded 3 goals this year.

    Peixe have a stable of talented wingers: Bruno Henrique, Copete, and Vitor Bueno are all quite dangerous when on form, but have the tendency to disappear at points too.

    There are other talented players as well, especially Thiago Maia and Zeca, who have both attracted interest from European sides.

    The argument can be made that Santos should be considered among the favourites this year, but it just feels like something is missing.

    Maybe it’s a better striker, maybe it’s a stronger defence, maybe it’s a bit of both. Whatever it is, and it’s probably more than a gut feeling than anything,

    I think Santos will fall short of expectations and miss out on the Libertadores places.

    There will be a few too many draws that should have been wins, and a few too many losses that could have been draws, and for me, that will leave Santos short of the top six.



    Libertadores qualifiers:
    Fluminense:
    Every year it seems that one team finds itself in the final Libertadores spot despite not really being in the title chase.

    That will only increase now that the direct Libertadores spots have expanded from four to six.

    This year, I think Fluminense will be more consistent than a more talented Santos team and will sneak into the final Libertadores spot.

    That’s not to say that Flu aren’t talented. Gustavo Scarpa is the best player in Brazil you’ve not heard of, and I really like the addition of Ecuadorian pair Jefferson Orejuela and Junior Sornoza.

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    19-year-old Richarlison scored 8 goals in the Rio de Janeiro state league, and could be one of the next big Brazilian attacking prospects.

    I don’t think Fluminense will play themselves into the title chase, but I do think that this is a squad that is good enough to snatch a Libertadores spot, and that should be considered a success for this team.



    Atlético-MG:
    The attacking talent is there for Galo to make a run at the title, but what might not be there is the consistency.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of attackers stronger than those Roger Machado can throw out on the pitch for any given match.

    It all starts with Fred, who has a legitimate claim to the title of best finisher in Brazil right now.

    Atlético-MG:
    The attacking talent is there for Galo to make a run at the title, but what might not be there is the consistency.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of attackers stronger than those Roger Machado can throw out on the pitch for any given match.

    It all starts with Fred, who has a legitimate claim to the title of best finisher in Brazil right now.


    But Fred would be nothing without those around him, and in the attack Galo surround him brilliantly with Robinho, Elias, Juan Cazares, and that’s before even discussing Rômulo Otero and his wonderful free-kicks, or the still promising Marlone.

    The question marks with this team will always be in the back line. As it stands, 37-year old Leonardo Silva appears to be one of the anchors at the back for the Atlético, with some combination of the Ecuadorian Frickson Erazo, Gabriel, and Felipe Santana set to play alongside him.

    Whoever it ends up being — and all signs point to it being a rotation — will be tasked with trying to plug a defence that has consistently struggled over the past few years.

    I think that, once again, Galo will be right in the Libertadores conversation, but fall short of a title due to a combination of inconsistency and a few too many struggles at the back.



    Grêmio:
    Let me preface this by saying that I would not be surprised in the slightest if Grêmio go on and win the 2017 title.

    Kannemann and Pedro Geromel might be the strongest central defence pairing in the country, while Luan, Pedro Rocha, and Miller Bolaños are all very talented attackers.

    Lucas Barrios, who joined this season, has found his form after a slow start and is now scoring goals at a high rate.

    Douglas, one of the better playmakers in Brazil, is currently out injured but should be able to return by July or August.

    The talent is all there for this side to make a real run at the title.

    Despite all of that talent, Grêmio have been inconsistent so far in 2017.

    One night, they’re putting four goals past a defensive Guaraní side and throwing their hat into the ring of Libertadores contenders, the next they’re scoring first against Iquique but then getting pegged back and suffering a 2-1 defeat.

    For whatever reason, Grêmio just aren’t consistent enough to really challenge for the title, and that’s a shame because this is a fun, talented side that when firing on all cylinders are among the best in South America.



    The title contenders:
    Palmeiras:
    The defending champions enter 2017 having suffered only one notable departure — Brazil international Gabriel Jesus, now at Manchester City — while adding two of the top players in South America last year in the shape of Venezuelan international Alejandro Guerra, and Colombian Miguel Borja, both from 2016 Copa Libertadores champions Atlético Nacional.

    Title-winning manager Cuca is back in charge after a five month period away from football.

    Dudu has developed into one of the best players in Brazil, while Colombian centre back Yerry Mina has caught the eye of Barcelona and will only continue to get better.Atlético-MG:
    The attacking talent is there for Galo to make a run at the title, but what might not be there is the consistency.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of attackers stronger than those Roger Machado can throw out on the pitch for any given match.

    It all starts with Fred, who has a legitimate claim to the title of best finisher in Brazil right now.


    But Fred would be nothing without those around him, and in the attack Galo surround him brilliantly with Robinho, Elias, Juan Cazares, and that’s before even discussing Rômulo Otero and his wonderful free-kicks, or the still promising Marlone.

    The question marks with this team will always be in the back line. As it stands, 37-year old Leonardo Silva appears to be one of the anchors at the back for the Atlético, with some combination of the Ecuadorian Frickson Erazo, Gabriel, and Felipe Santana set to play alongside him.

    Whoever it ends up being — and all signs point to it being a rotation — will be tasked with trying to plug a defence that has consistently struggled over the past few years.

    I think that, once again, Galo will be right in the Libertadores conversation, but fall short of a title due to a combination of inconsistency and a few too many struggles at the back.



    Grêmio:
    Let me preface this by saying that I would not be surprised in the slightest if Grêmio go on and win the 2017 title.

    Kannemann and Pedro Geromel might be the strongest central defence pairing in the country, while Luan, Pedro Rocha, and Miller Bolaños are all very talented attackers.

    Lucas Barrios, who joined this season, has found his form after a slow start and is now scoring goals at a high rate.

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    Douglas, one of the better playmakers in Brazil, is currently out injured but should be able to return by July or August.

    The talent is all there for this side to make a real run at the title.

    Despite all of that talent, Grêmio have been inconsistent so far in 2017.

    One night, they’re putting four goals past a defensive Guaraní side and throwing their hat into the ring of Libertadores contenders, the next they’re scoring first against Iquique but then getting pegged back and suffering a 2-1 defeat.

    For whatever reason, Grêmio just aren’t consistent enough to really challenge for the title, and that’s a shame because this is a fun, talented side that when firing on all cylinders are among the best in South America.



    The title contenders:
    Palmeiras:
    The defending champions enter 2017 having suffered only one notable departure — Brazil international Gabriel Jesus, now at Manchester City — while adding two of the top players in South America last year in the shape of Venezuelan international Alejandro Guerra, and Colombian Miguel Borja, both from 2016 Copa Libertadores champions Atlético Nacional.

    Title-winning manager Cuca is back in charge after a five month period away from football.

    Dudu has developed into one of the best players in Brazil, while Colombian centre back Yerry Mina has caught the eye of Barcelona and will only continue to get better.

    Palmeiras:
    The defending champions enter 2017 having suffered only one notable departure — Brazil international Gabriel Jesus, now at Manchester City — while adding two of the top players in South America last year in the shape of Venezuelan international Alejandro Guerra, and Colombian Miguel Borja, both from 2016 Copa Libertadores champions Atlético Nacional.

    Title-winning manager Cuca is back in charge after a five month period away from football.

    Dudu has developed into one of the best players in Brazil, while Colombian centre back Yerry Mina has caught the eye of Barcelona and will only continue to get better.

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    Felipe Melo, in all of his glory, has made his way back to Brazil to shore up the defensive midfield.

    Clearly, Palmeiras are one of the favourites to win the league, and I would not be shocked to see them win back to back titles as the talent is there.

    For me, it will all come down to what Palmeiras are able to do in the Copa Libertadores.

    This year, the Libertadores was extended to run the length of the full year rather than only through July.

    What this means is that should a team advance in the Libertadores, it will more likely than not have an adverse effect on their ability to perform in the league.

    I think Palmeiras are among the Libertadores favourites, especially with Cuca back in charge.

    This is a squad good enough to take the title, but I think the crowded calendar of South America will force them to make sacrifices domestically in their quest for an international title, and that will keep them from repeating as champions.



    Flamengo:
    The biggest side in Brazil might be the biggest wild card in this year’s Brasileirão. And they might just have the biggest individual wild card to play.

    At the young age of 16, Vinícius Junior has begun to turn heads, first domestically and now internationally, as Real Madrid have reportedly agreed to pay €45 million to purchase the youngster when he turns 18 next July.

    Vinícius has yet to make his professional debut, but has wowed scouts and fans at both the under-17 and under-20 level.

    He’ll be included in Flamengo training starting this week, and should debut professionally this Brasileirão.Palmeiras:
    The defending champions enter 2017 having suffered only one notable departure — Brazil international Gabriel Jesus, now at Manchester City — while adding two of the top players in South America last year in the shape of Venezuelan international Alejandro Guerra, and Colombian Miguel Borja, both from 2016 Copa Libertadores champions Atlético Nacional.

    Title-winning manager Cuca is back in charge after a five month period away from football.

    Dudu has developed into one of the best players in Brazil, while Colombian centre back Yerry Mina has caught the eye of Barcelona and will only continue to get better.

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    Felipe Melo, in all of his glory, has made his way back to Brazil to shore up the defensive midfield.

    Clearly, Palmeiras are one of the favourites to win the league, and I would not be shocked to see them win back to back titles as the talent is there.

    For me, it will all come down to what Palmeiras are able to do in the Copa Libertadores.

    This year, the Libertadores was extended to run the length of the full year rather than only through July.

    What this means is that should a team advance in the Libertadores, it will more likely than not have an adverse effect on their ability to perform in the league.

    I think Palmeiras are among the Libertadores favourites, especially with Cuca back in charge.

    This is a squad good enough to take the title, but I think the crowded calendar of South America will force them to make sacrifices domestically in their quest for an international title, and that will keep them from repeating as champions.



    Flamengo:
    The biggest side in Brazil might be the biggest wild card in this year’s Brasileirão. And they might just have the biggest individual wild card to play.

    At the young age of 16, Vinícius Junior has begun to turn heads, first domestically and now internationally, as Real Madrid have reportedly agreed to pay €45 million to purchase the youngster when he turns 18 next July.

    Vinícius has yet to make his professional debut, but has wowed scouts and fans at both the under-17 and under-20 level.

    He’ll be included in Flamengo training starting this week, and should debut professionally this Brasileirão.

    Flamengo:
    The biggest side in Brazil might be the biggest wild card in this year’s Brasileirão. And they might just have the biggest individual wild card to play.

    At the young age of 16, Vinícius Junior has begun to turn heads, first domestically and now internationally, as Real Madrid have reportedly agreed to pay €45 million to purchase the youngster when he turns 18 next July.

    Vinícius has yet to make his professional debut, but has wowed scouts and fans at both the under-17 and under-20 level.

    He’ll be included in Flamengo training starting this week, and should debut professionally this Brasileirão.

    Embed from Getty Images



    Vinícius is not yet at the level where he can singlehandedly win a title for a team but he is good enough that, if used properly, he could play an important role in both the Brasileirão and Copa Libertadores.

    The reason Vinícius could be so critical to Flamengo is that this Mengão side is really quite talented.

    Diego has sparkled in his return to Brazil proving unqualified hacks like myself wrong, and should return from injury soon, while Paolo Guerrero continues to be one of the best pure goal-scorers in the league.

    Peruvian Miguel Trauco has been a welcome addition, bombing forward from the fullback position and providing terrific service to his fellow Peruvian Guerrero.

    Márcio Araújo has been no stranger to criticism in the red and black shirt but has grown into his defensive midfield role.

    Add in the addition of Argentine Darío Conca, who should be available in the coming weeks, and Flamengo have built a talented squad.

    If there is an issue (outside of the overarching theme of Libertadores football affecting Brasileirão performance) it is the defence, which could be improved in the next window.

    In the end, Vinícius Junior or not, I think Flamengo will fall victim to a fixture list that is just the slightest bit too crowded, and will ultimately miss out on a title, if only just.



    The 2017 Brasileirão champions will be…
    Cruzeiro:
    It’s no secret that the Brazilian championship might just be the fastest run marathon in football.

    The matches come fast and furious with most sides spending the year playing, on average, a match every three days or so.

    Unlike the other title contenders, Cruzeiro won’t get caught up in the fight for the Libertadores which will now stretch throughout the entire campaign rather than just July.

    The Brasileirão will be Mano Menezes’ primary goal in 2017.Flamengo:
    The biggest side in Brazil might be the biggest wild card in this year’s Brasileirão. And they might just have the biggest individual wild card to play.

    At the young age of 16, Vinícius Junior has begun to turn heads, first domestically and now internationally, as Real Madrid have reportedly agreed to pay €45 million to purchase the youngster when he turns 18 next July.

    Vinícius has yet to make his professional debut, but has wowed scouts and fans at both the under-17 and under-20 level.

    He’ll be included in Flamengo training starting this week, and should debut professionally this Brasileirão.

    Embed from Getty Images



    Vinícius is not yet at the level where he can singlehandedly win a title for a team but he is good enough that, if used properly, he could play an important role in both the Brasileirão and Copa Libertadores.

    The reason Vinícius could be so critical to Flamengo is that this Mengão side is really quite talented.

    Diego has sparkled in his return to Brazil proving unqualified hacks like myself wrong, and should return from injury soon, while Paolo Guerrero continues to be one of the best pure goal-scorers in the league.

    Peruvian Miguel Trauco has been a welcome addition, bombing forward from the fullback position and providing terrific service to his fellow Peruvian Guerrero.

    Márcio Araújo has been no stranger to criticism in the red and black shirt but has grown into his defensive midfield role.

    Add in the addition of Argentine Darío Conca, who should be available in the coming weeks, and Flamengo have built a talented squad.

    If there is an issue (outside of the overarching theme of Libertadores football affecting Brasileirão performance) it is the defence, which could be improved in the next window.

    In the end, Vinícius Junior or not, I think Flamengo will fall victim to a fixture list that is just the slightest bit too crowded, and will ultimately miss out on a title, if only just.



    The 2017 Brasileirão champions will be…
    Cruzeiro:
    It’s no secret that the Brazilian championship might just be the fastest run marathon in football.

    The matches come fast and furious with most sides spending the year playing, on average, a match every three days or so.

    Unlike the other title contenders, Cruzeiro won’t get caught up in the fight for the Libertadores which will now stretch throughout the entire campaign rather than just July.

    The Brasileirão will be Mano Menezes’ primary goal in 2017.

    Cruzeiro are strong enough in the attack and midfield to break down the strongest of defences, and are deep enough to survive the injuries and suspensions that come during a 38-game season compressed into six and a half short months.

    Ramon Ábila was one of the best goal scorers in Brazil last year and, after a slow start with the club, Rafael Sobis has hit his goalscoring stride.

    In midfield Thiago Neves and Húdson join a group that already featured Uruguayan international Giorgian de Arrascaeta, and is deep enough to withstand an absence or two.Cruzeiro are strong enough in the attack and midfield to break down the strongest of defences, and are deep enough to survive the injuries and suspensions that come during a 38-game season compressed into six and a half short months.

    Ramon Ábila was one of the best goal scorers in Brazil last year and, after a slow start with the club, Rafael Sobis has hit his goalscoring stride.

    In midfield Thiago Neves and Húdson join a group that already featured Uruguayan international Giorgian de Arrascaeta, and is deep enough to withstand an absence or two.

    In defence, Ecuadorian Luís “Kunty” Caicedo has come over from last year’s Libertadores runners-up Independiente del Valle, and while Dedé and Manoel have dealt with injuries in the past, both appear to be healthy and ready to contribute.

    When Cruzeiro are on form, they are one of the most talented teams in Brazil.

    When they’re not, they have the ability to grind out a result, and attackers who can poach a goal from nearly nothing.

    They might not always impress in 2017, and I’m understanding that this is a bit of a wildcard pick, but I think Cruzeiro will be deep enough and, perhaps most importantly, focused enough to take home the title.In defence, Ecuadorian Luís “Kunty” Caicedo has come over from last year’s Libertadores runners-up Independiente del Valle, and while Dedé and Manoel have dealt with injuries in the past, both appear to be healthy and ready to contribute.

    When Cruzeiro are on form, they are one of the most talented teams in Brazil.

    When they’re not, they have the ability to grind out a result, and attackers who can poach a goal from nearly nothing.

    They might not always impress in 2017, and I’m understanding that this is a bit of a wildcard pick, but I think Cruzeiro will be deep enough and, perhaps most importantly, focused enough to take home the title.
    Laatst gewijzigd door kitno; 13 mei 2017 om 16:15

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