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CAN FABINHO REPLACE EMRE CAN?

Champions League finalist Liverpool have confirmed the signature of Fabinho as replacement for the set to leave Emre Can. The German has refused to agree fresh terms at Anfield with increasing links to Juventus after both sides agreed a pre-contract in January.

The Brazilian midfielder cost the Reds £40 million to lure from Monaco. The 24-year old featured impressively in the past few seasons for the Ligue 1 side as they competed fiercely with Paris St Germain. He is expected to join other Brazilian stars that have gone on to become a success in the Reds jersey.
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DUNGA WILL MAKE SUBS

Brazil national team coach Dunga says that he is planning to make use of his six allocated substitutions in the friendly against Japan in order to get a better understanding of his team. Dunga is in his second spell as the manager of the national team. He is preparing his team to do well at the upcoming Copa America, but his most important job will be to do well at the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Brazil come on the back of a humiliation at the World Cup 2014, which started so well in front of their own supporters.

In order to overcome this disappointment, Dunga brought back a number of players from his previous spell who were omitted by Luiz Felipe Scolari. This includes midfielder Kaka, who has just joined MLS club Orlando City on a permanent basis. Despite being in the twilight of his career, the return of players like Kaka is expected to benefit the team in terms of experience. Brazil struggled without the same in the semi-final against Germany as they were ripped apart 7-1. Newcomers in the squad include the likes of goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe, Mario Fernandes, and Souza. The friendly against Japan will take place in Singapore and it presents Dunga a great opportunity to look at his team in detail.

“The intention is to use all six substitutions we are allowed. Mainly because of the long trip to China, the intense game we had against Argentina in the smog [in Beijing]. We will give an opportunity to new players who are in the squad. The quality of Brazilian players means were are always expected to put on a good show, but we need a good pitch to play speed and with intensity. The intention, every time we play, is to produce a good show,” said Dunga.

Vasco da Gama bring in Santana

Vasco da Gama have brought in one of the former coaches in the form of Joel Santana to lead them to title success at the end of the campaign. Joel Santana is no stranger to the club after having been in charge of the team in four separate spells before. His first appearance in the Vasco da Gama dugout came in the 1986-87 season. Even though he lasted only one season at the club, he has since been a cult figure in these parts. He has since been around the club on three occasions. Even though he has not lasted for two seasons at a stretch, it is believed that the arrival of Santana will make them challengers for a return to the Brazilian top-flight.

Santana finds himself having to deal with second division matches, but it is something that the 65-year-old will probably relish since it only adds to the vast experience he has in the game. The 65-year-old’s first match in charge after returning to the club will be against Luverdense in the league. The club only recently brought an end to a run of five matches without a win by beating América Mineiro in the league. This victory leaves them one point behind the top of the table. The poor form in recent weeks, though, has allowed several teams to compete for the league title.

“I am happy to be back receiving a salary after over a year. Now, for example, I am at the bank. The bills don’t stop arriving. I am going to help Vasco. It is going to be good for everyone,” said Santana. Along with the arrival of Santana, the club will also see the return of coaches like Ronaldo Torres and Marcelo Salles, who have worked with the manager for several years at various clubs.

Luxemburgo Under Heavy Pressure

Vanderlei Luxemburgo is a man under pressure at the moment after his Flamengo team are bottom of the Brazilian football table after 13 matches in the season. The club recently brought an end to the disastrous run of form after 1-0 win over Botafogo. However, they were unable to sustain the positivity after a 1-0 loss at the hands of Chapecoense on Monday night. This has left the team three points adrift of safety and with a hugely inferior goal difference. Luxemburgo says that the players must have performed much better than they have done so far.

It will be interesting to see if Luxemburgo’s decision to blame the players will have an effect in the upcoming matches. The team hosts the match against Sport Recife next week. In the match against Botafogo, home advantage played a crucial role in getting the three points. It could prove vital once again, as the club look to get out of the relegation zone. Flamengo have not been going through a bad run of form only in the last few weeks. They have managed just two wins out of the 13 matches played since the start of the season. The likes of Cruzeiro already have close to a 20 point advantage over Flamengo.

“The players must understand that they must get the club out of this situation that they have put it into. We have 10 points and we need 37 points to avoid relegation. That means we need 47 percent of the 78 points still available. That’s our Championship,” said the Flamengo manager. Given the short-term nature of Brazilian managers come eight would not be surprising to see Luxemburgo out of the job in the next few weeks if results are not improve. The upcoming match against Sport Recife will be difficult since the opponents of challenging for a Copa Libertadores spot.

BOTAFOGO STRUGGLE

Brazilian club Botafogo have been struggling without the presence of Clarence Seedorf, who announced his retirement and decided to become the manager of AC Milan a few months ago, in this campaign. In the previous season, they came close to winning the title under the stewardship of the Dutchman, who was one of the prestigious players in Brazilian football. The club go into the next match against Unión Española looking to get three points that would put them top of the Copa Libertadores table. Ahead of this match, midfielder Jorge Wagner has spoken about the need to get a win from this encounter.

Botafogo have been very poor in this campaign, as they have managed to just two wins in the last five matches of the competition. In contrast, their opponents in the next match – Unión Española – have been unbeaten in the last four matches. Hence, they are the favourites to get a win despite this match being away from home. This would be a disastrous result for Botafogo, as it could potentially make them slip to second place in the table. Even though they have a comfortable advantage over Independiente from Ecuador, Botafogo will want to get the top spot of the group nonetheless.

“We are used to playing in the stadium and are very strong there. The teams that come to play us know this. It’s time that show what we’re really about, with a game of quick passing, lots of pressure and tight marking. We won’t give the opposition any space,” said Wagner ahead of the match. The home support will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome, as Wagner has called for the fans to make the Maracanã a fortress. The final group match of the tournament for the club will be against San Lorenzo.

RIVELINO RUES NUMBER 10s

Former Brazilian footballer, Rivelino has stated that the role of the number 10 has been decreasing consistently written Brazilian football that it is no longer considered as a big thing. This shirt number is regarded as one of the most iconic in the world after having been won by legends like Pele, Zico, and Rivaldo. Nowadays, the role of the striker, who plays just behind the defensive line, has diminished to such an extent that it is no longer a craze according to the 68-year-old. His comments suggest that the modern football has evolved in such a way that the entire team is responsible for scoring a goal.

Previously, it was the number 10 who was assigned the job of scoring and creating goals. Rivaldo recently stated that the No.10 was the most important player in a team since he was the brains. Rivaldo won the World Player of the Year award in 1999 for his exploits with the Brazilian national team and Barcelona. Neymar is currently wearing the No.10 shirt and he has done exceedingly well in recent years to prove that he is worthy of such accolade. The Barcelona striker recently scored two goals in the 5-0 win over South Africa, which once again reasserted their position as the favourites for the World Cup 2014.

“The importance of the No. 10 shirt has unfortunately ended. Today the holding midfielders open the game up more than the No. 10. What used to be the function of the No. 10 doesn’t exist in Brazilian football anymore. It was luck. I was just 17 in 1958 and the numbers were drawn. I got No. 10 and that’s how it all started. The priority today isn’t creating but marking,” said Rivelino, who played for Corinthians and Fluminense as the number 10 during his playing days.

SOUTH AFRICA FRIENDLY ARRANGED

Brazil will be taking on in a friendly match against South Africa in March, which is seen as the final opportunity for any players looking to get into the national team squad ahead of the World Cup 2014.

This is the final friendly match for the nation before they take part in the competition. Since they have been doing extremely well in the last 12 months, it has been rumoured that Luiz Felipe Scolari will be taking an unchanged team to this friendly match. However, he has surprised everyone by naming Manchester city midfielder Fernandinho into the squad. Read more »

YURI IMPRESSES

New Santos sensation Stefano Yuri has revealed that the advice he got from Leandro Damião helped him do well in his appearance against Linense. Santos were looking to continue the good run of form, which has seen them win the last three matches.

However, there was a danger of their match against Linense ending in a draw after the home team managed to equalise within two minutes of Santos taking the lead through Thiago Ribeiro. The away team tried everything in order to get three points without success. Read more »

PATO POTENTIAL

Alexandre Pato was regarded as a player set for a bright future and it seemed the way when he made his debut for AC Milan aged just 18 years. He went on to create numerous records for the national team including featuring in the first team as a teenager, while also scoring as one of the youngest to do so. However, his career has suffered extensively in the last few years due to the injuries. This is even led to Pato returning to Brazilian football with Corinthians. He was brought back to Brazilian football for around £ 12 million, which is a huge investment.

Even after his return, he has not been able to find his best form. The assumption was that his return to Brazilian football will help him improve his physical fitness, which has been his major problem. However, it has not been the case because Pato has suffered injuries here at Corinthians. Amongst this, he has also been linked with a return to European football with Valencia showing interest in his services. Former Internacional youth team coach Osmar Loss says that the 24-year-old just needs to stay fit this season and the world will see the best of him from next season onwards.

Pato has scored nine in 30 matches for Corinthians this campaign.

“His performance was well below what he is capable of, but even so he is back on an upward curve. I think this season was a lot better than his last two or three in Europe because he went through the whole year without an injury. I strongly believe he can get back to his best next season if he decides to stay at the club,” said the former youth team coach, who oversaw the development of Pato as a youngster at Internacional.