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1955: Carlos Renato interviews Zizinho
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-05-01 14:09:06
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
IN THE CATACOMBS OF THE WORLD CUP
Carlos Renato | 1955
The master points out the subterranean reasons for the defeat — Which, in his opinion, is the greatest Brazilian team of all time — Analysis of the eleven ideal stars — Ziza himself seen from the inside.
It is possible that in a few years, with gray hair and a pair of glasses hanging from his nose, Thomas Soares da Silva will unearth a faded scrapbook from the bottom of a suitcase. So, among hundreds, thousands of stories, maybe he'll find this one; and, perhaps, Mrs. Jane, interrupting her knitting, will come to her husband's side on this trip to the past. Together, transfigured by nostalgia, they will pass their eyes along these lines. Modest as he is, Ziza is likely to observe, masking his emotion: "I didn't deserve so much. Look at this reporter. Friend, God forbid, but stubborn as a donkey. "Then he'll tell his wife how the journalist got it, then after an hour of obstinate attempt, to extract from him what no one, until then, had managed to do: his pronouncement on the greatest Brazilian scratch of all time and his testimony on the catacombs of the World Cup.
An ace in the X-RAY.
At his home, in Niterói, with the youngest in his arms, Zizinho smiled:
Zizinho: My dear, I count on my fingers and I don't discover an enemy in football. On the other hand, scattered throughout these Brazils, we find superstars capable of making a Puskás blush with envy. And you cross the bay to ask me to choose the greatest team of all-time? Never, my dear! Off to another question.
We feel and understand the fear of star No. 1. A team, whether from Canto do Rio or CBD, only admits 11 players. In this way, he would leave out hundreds of others, as good or better than those mentioned. The mestre spoke again:
Zizinho: Imagine the following: I offer eleven names, like this, by ear. You take the boat back and I wonder if I was unfair to so-and-so, to player 'a', to player 'b', etc. This is crazy stuff.
— But Ziza, it's not that difficult. We have been your interpreter and we know, for example, that you liked Noronha's way of acting. He thinks Bauer is a phenomenon; Ademir, an authentic machine for making impossible goals; that Tim could dribble his own shadow. We have already heard, from his mouth, high praise for Paulinho and Walter, from Vasco; to Rubens and Dequinha; to Menezes, from Bangu. Of Pirilo, you said: "This man gave Flamengo a three championships. He was an extraordinary centre-forward". What about Didi? One day, in Bangu, you confessed: "I'm a fan of that Creole. Go play football in hell!" You said above that you didn't have an enemy in football. It's true, too, that they like you. And in the case of a judgment that involves past and present, they will be the first to understand. In this retrospect, my dear, there will be 18-carat stars left. It will be inevitable, master Ziza. It turns out that we didn't give up on his pronouncement either.
On that day, lost in the future, Zizinho will interrupt the reading of the nostalgia album:
Zizinho: See, Jane? This guy had a conversation! See the rest.
The rest, Zizinho, will first be you talking about the greatest Brazilian team of all time. Let's see:
Zizinho: Sometimes I ask myself: could there be another goalkeeper in Barbosa's category? Then, in my mind's eye, I see old Batatais in action. Then, however, I also see Jurandir and, shortly after, many other names appear. Anyway, old Batatais deserves the honors of the greatest. Maybe because of the characteristics, I don't know. The man under the three sticks didn't move, people. He was, exaggerating a little, incapable of the slightest physical exertion. He had another particularity that distinguished him from the others: he didn't run after the ball; the ball ran after him. I vaguely remember the great Marcos de Mendonça. However, he was not my time.
Zizinho: A few years ago, in Maracanã itself, I declared to the stubborn reporter who wrote these lines: they should have a statue erected on Domingos. He was the greatest defender in this country.
We have other fabulous ones. See Pinheiro, Carson, Mauro, etc. Domingos, however, is the absolute.
Zizinho: I liked Noronha. Sober and steady, he didn't joke on the lawn. He was, without a doubt, excellent. On the other hand, we have a legitimate player: Nilton Santos. In the eyes of the fans he appears as unparalleled; mine, ditto.
Zizinho: I witnessed the strength of this young man who goes by the name of Djalma Santos. Ah, good brunette! Play hard and with soul. On the field all he thinks about is victory. Brand with perfection and support with category. I also think about Biguá, from the glorious campaign of the third championship. At that time, the "Indian" put God and the world in his pocket. In this general balance, he would also fit in the all-time team. Djalma, however, has his place guaranteed.
Zizinho: Whoever called Danilo "Prince" was right. In his heyday, he had no one to match him. Note that I speak of those I met, those who acted with me or against me. I know that Fausto was a great guy, a fabulous centre-half. I happen to play alongside the "Prince", and many times I was amazed by his truly genius plays. How easily and elegantly he would "kill" a ball, pass or disarm his opponent. The player marked by the skinny Danilo lost 50% of his efficiency.
Zizinho: If I point out Jaime's name, for example, people will be jumping out of their chairs; protesting: "But how? What about Ivan, from América? Juvenal?" I answer: I know that Ivan, Juvenal, Bauer and others are legitimate players. I warned you, at first, that it wasn't going to be so easy; that many good people would be left. What's my fault if the football rules don't admit more than 11 players?
Zizinho: In this position we have an inflation of "monsters". Want one of them? Julinho. He's an ace with a capital "C". Let's agree, however, the following: when a coach is in charge of selecting players, what criteria does he adopt? This one: choose the ones that best adapt to your system, the ones that best suit your way of building the team. Today, here, I am a kind of coach, with all deformations. Without wanting to, I also think about my way of acting. And when this happens, I cannot forget a Pedro Amorim, a Tesourinha. At their peak, they were wonderful.
Zizinho: Look at the billiards table: Romeu, Rubens, Didi, Walter, etc. I could, if this thing weren't jet-setting, put all those names on a tray and, blindfolded, choose any one of them. The favored by luck would be able to appear in this team. Ah, if you asked me, not one, but five teams! I stay, however, with the oldest: Romeu.
Zizinho: I will mention four names. Any of them, in my humble opinion, fits like a glove in this position: Heleno, Ademir, Pirilo and Leônidas. Which one should I choose? Don't come to me with Friedenreich. He was great, I know. But, I repeat: I'm dealing with players I've met, since the day I put boots on my feet. But let me separate one of them, to please the stubborn: Heleno. Either way, any of the others would be the same.
Zizinho: Jair's place. But who, desiring to do justice, can despise a Perácio? Say what they want, the boy knew how to fulfill his mission. He scored incredible goals! Jájá, however, due to his class and plasticity, is the owner of the position. Tim, a great player, also deserves my admiration.
Zizinho: During his truly meteoric career, Vévé had no one to replace him. He was, for a year, maybe months, an unparalleled ace. It is thinking about this very short period of his career that I mention the name of Vévé.
This, gentlemen, was Zizinho's selection: Batatais — Domingos, N. Santos — D. Santos, Danilo, Jaime — P. Amorim, Romeu, Heleno, Jair, Vévé.
We all know the concrete fact of Brazil's defeat in the 1950 World Cup. But all facts have their hidden face, their catacomb: it is precisely in this subsoil of the fact that we find the reasons that justify it. So, we asked Mestre Ziza for an evocation of the catacombs of the World Cup. What are the underlying reasons for the Brazilian setback? Zizinho scratches his head, replies:
Zizinho: Well. In the decisive battle, we stepped onto the Maracanã lawn still echoing from the applause that celebrated the 6-1 over Spain. So we had everything to win. Among other things, the main thing: we had a better team, much better than Uruguay. Our opponent was a fighter, brave, yes, but compared to us and all the factors that seemed to favor us, it was nothing more than a bunch of players without the right, even, to dream of a draw.
Ziza pauses and leans his head back; he seeks to extract from memory the explanation we ask for. Then he adds:
Ziznho: Do you remember what happened in 49? We lost to the Paraguayans by the same score. Well then. We came across the Guaranis again three days later. We thrashed them by 7x1. I then came to the following conclusion: In 1950, we were victims of the same phenomenon. There are times when nobody gets it right. That's just what happened. Everything the team does, works in favor of the opponent. Recently, we had the case of Bangu x Vasco. The victory is explained. No one, however, will be able to justify, within the law of possibilities, the 5x0 that, after the ninety minutes, the scoreboard pointedly showed. On July 16, 1950, the team had a black day. On the other hand, by a catastrophic coincidence, the Uruguayans' blue day was precisely that day... It's the only logical explanation I can find for the defeat. If we faced them, not two years, not two months, but two hours later, we would have repeated the feat of 1949, in the South American championship; the Uruguayans would take a thrash in conditions. I'll go further: if that team continued playing with the Uruguayans, until the end of the centuries, they wouldn't lose or draw once. Other reasons must be considered as supporting factors. With all the faults, which I will deal with later, we would have triumphed had it not been for this mysterious force that we cannot control.
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