By David Bongiorno
I have been following the Brazilian national team for over fifteen years.
I have seen them on video and dreamed of playing in my next life as number 10.
Brazil is the team I love more than any other in world football except for Napoli.
I know the names and statistics of the majority of players who have donned the canary yellow shirt over the last decade: who they played for in Brazil, how many caps they earned for the national team, and where they moved to in Europe to further their careers.
I have studied the team’s language – Portuguese – and speak it well.
And if I were to find myself at a ground on match day, I would love to shout: Gooool do Brasil!”
Without my love for the team, I would not be the person I am today.
The team has taught me to play with creativity, win with humility and lose with dignity.
As a spectator, I have been moved by the video of the 1970 World Cup win over Italy, gratified by the telecast of 1994 World Cup win over Italy and shattered by the broadcast of the 1998 World Cup loss to France.
I get great pleasure from the weekly columns of former great Tostão on the website of the O Globo Media Group.
And I experience tremendous excitement every time Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho take the field.
In my study at home, I have a shelf of literature on Brazilian football.
Titles include Armando Nogueira’s A copa que ningum viu e a que não queremos lembrar, Stanislaw Ponte Preta’s Bola na rede: a batalha do bi and Joao Saldanha’s Meus Amigos.
On another shelf, next to my degree, I have an autographed set of Pel’s Diaries.
The message on the inside cover of the first diary says: “Com muito amor, Pel”.
If they had been the two-volume life story of someone such as the impetuous Francesco Totti, with his signature and his irritatingly handsome face on the first page, they would probably be worth a lot more to today’s fans of the game.
I am glad they are not.
The two books are among my most treasured possessions.
Obviously, the dream job for me would be working as a stringer in Brazil, covering the Rio and São Paolo State Leagues, and filing match reports and colour pieces on the national team.
But I am based in Melbourne and made to write lovingly about the team from a distance.
And as I do so, it is just twenty days from embarking on a quest for an historic sixth World Cup trophy.
This one will be sweeter than the others, because it is neither the 1958 nor the 1970 side.
Brazil, everyone says, is only capable of producing teams like those twice a century.
And when you think of the top liners like Didi, Vav, Garrincha, Pel and Rivelinho, you realise they are correct.
But it does not matter.
This year’s national team has enough class to rightly call itself the best in the world.
On July 9, it will become official.
To the Gentleman that wrote this article:
In other words..may your next incarnation bring you to the Maracana field and play with your number 10 shirt, and be proud to play in a TEAM of Honor.
Soccer is not a game, it is a philosophy.
One can not play as an individual, but, as a one of many as ONE.
Todos ligados na mesma emocao, that is what I feel when I watch Brasil play during a World Cup.
May the Force of many bestow on the 22 players in a positive flow, to show the World what “Joga Bonito” means, but most important of all..That when the game begins…there are no, races or classes, but all are equally tuned into the same feeling.
If only in life all were just a bit simpler, kinder, with dignity and humility..maybe one day..for mankind’s hope.
I want to see you play wearing your # 10 shirt next encarnation, and I will be there cheering with all my fellowmen.