We are 18 months away from what promises to be a memorable soccer World Cup.
In the summer of 2014, Brazil will host soccer’s biggest celebration for the first time in over 60 years, and the South American nation wants it to be an affair to remember.
The country is gearing up for a great showing and they want to be ready, in every sense of the word. Stadia renovations are already under way, and so have the preparations of all the different venues and infrastructures in the different cities that will host World Cup games. But Brazil, in general, has a single goal while hosting the tournament: To ensure that the Cup stays home.
World Cup pressure for Brazil
Brazil has won five World Cup championships in history, the last one in 2002, and the descending quality of some of its best stars has many of the Brazilian Federation Officials worried that the team will not be able to have a good showing in its own World Cup. Because of this, it seems that the clubs have consciously decided to power themselves with some of the Verde Amarela stars that, while having tons of potential, have not been able to shine in Europe as much as expected in the last few seasons. This move will hopefully give the National Team the measure of compactness they have historically lacked, and which talent used to make up for.
And so, Corinthians put their eyes on Alexandre Pato, the AC Milan forward, to compliment Peruvian Paolo Guerrero in the World Champion’s attack. Their $20 million offer was enough to convince Adriano Galliani, who has been trying to adequate the club to the new FIFA Fair Play rules since the summer, when he let go of its main stars, Ibrahimovic, Cassano and Thiago Silva, and Pato signed a four years deal with Timao yesterday afternoon.
Furthermore, AC Milan could also be looking to send Robinho back home to Santos. The former Real Madrid starlet has failed to retain a starting spot even in a star-void team as Allegri’s Milan this year, and his high salary is an impediment to bring other players considered to be more efficient, such as Drogba or Rossi, once he fully recovers. Santos has offered $8 million for the player bought from Manchester City for $18 million two years ago, and the negotiations could be nearing a close at around $10-12 million. Flamingo and Fluminense would also be willing to make an effort to bring Robinho back home.
Thanks to Brazil’s buoyant economy, most of the top clubs in the local tournament now have the means to, at least, compete with European salaries. This was merely a dream a few years back, but the devaluation of the Euro and the huge market crisis attacking Europe at the moment has put the South American giant back in the picture. Neymar, for example, makes well over $10 million in both salary and sponsorships, and so his willingness to leave a tournament where he is the unrivaled star to move to a more competitive league in Europe is not as pressing as it may have been in the past.
Keeping the Brazilian National team together
The final rumor pointing to a Brazilian star heading back home in this January market transfer window is about Kaka. The former best player of the world has been a misfit at Real Madrid during the last four seasons, never reaching his expected level, and the team seems ready to finally give up on their $65 million bet. His first professional club, Sao Paulo, has recently received 50 million euro from PSG for Lucas Moura’s transfer, and could be willing to spend some of that cash on bringing back the prodigal son.
This way, Brazil would try to find a similar strategy to what Germany has done for ages: keeping the best stars of their National team close together and that way be able to have extra training days for the group even during non-FIFA dates. The idea of having players like Cassio, Casemiro, Ganso, Dedé, Pato, Kaka, Robinho, Leandro Damiao and Neymar practicing together sporadically before the big date in the summer of 2014, and getting into Felipe Soclari’s groove, will surely get Brazil that much closer to facing the World Cup as a top contender next summer.
Originally published by VOXXI as World Cup: Brazil wants to bring stars home before its big year