Monday, March 28, 2011

Mano Menezes: The Changing of the Guard

By Bagga Wilks

The 2010 Brazilian coach, Dunga, has become a relic of the past. The new Brazilian coach, Mano Menezes, began with a nigh clean slate, keeping only a few of the Brazilian 2010 World Cup team in his new quest for glory.

After losing to Argentina and France in successive friendlies, Menezes appears to be seeking a blend of the old and the new. For the game against Scotland, he brought back a couple of Dunga’s stalwarts, Lucio and Maicon and resuscitated Elano who after life at Manchester City has found a home back at Santos, Brazil. Maicon sat on the bench as Danny Alves started over him and Luiz, Chelsea’s new sensation, gave way to Lucio who partnered with Thiaga Silva.

Brazil is preparing for Copa America that will be held in Argentina in July of this year and of course there is the World Cup that will be held in Brazil in 2014.
Both Ronaldinho and Robinho were left out of the squad and with the array of young talent coming through the ranks, it is unlikely that there will be any place in the starting eleven for what can be considered the old guard.

Neymar personifies this new generation of brand new Brazilian upstarts.
The retired Brazilian striker, Ronaldo, identified three new Brazilian stars in the making – Ganso of Santos who is recuperating from a knee injury, Neymar also of Santos who scored Brazil’s two goals against Scotland, and Lucas of Sao Paulo who did not start against Scotland but came on and for the twenty minutes showed that he embodies Brazil’s future.

There is no doubt about Neymar. He is a remarkable talent and his creativity and dazzling footwork captured the imagination of the fans who attended the game at the Emirates and the millions who witnessed his prowess on ESPN.

Menezes started another star in the making Damaio. He did not blossom that much in the Scotland game but did show some leaping ability. Then there is also another, Luca who Chelsea has signed who is also slated to be a hell of a player.

Menezes will have headaches determining who will comprise the squad for Copa America and what will be the starting eleven. Back home, he knows that in Brazil there is no substitute for victory. With players of the caliber of Neymar, with runners like Ramires and with central defenders with the versatility of David Luiz, Menezes’ fate should be different from that of his predecessor.

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