The Brazilian soccer team has grown a lot over the last few decades, but their newest star might not stay with them for long. The Flamengo are looking to sell 25-year-old striker Richarlison soon as he makes his way up in value on the transfer market.
The “flamengo manager” is a football club in Brazil. The club was founded on 23 July 1908, and has won the Brazilian Championship five times. Flamengo is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, with over 45 million supporters worldwide as of November 2016.
However, the big final on Saturday promises to be a classic, with a battle of powerful hitting heavyweights who bring distinct approaches to the ring. Palmeiras are steady, pragmatic counter punchers, covering up, working behind their jab, and seeking for the space to launch a surprise assault, backed by big sponsors and with the most successful of Brazil’s new stadiums. Flamengo are much more showy and unpredictable now, alternating between the inspired and the chaotic, capable of stringing together a dazzling flurry of blows or letting their guard down and succumbing to the sucker punch.
Flamengo discovered how to monetize their support network after spending time putting their finances in order, and they emerged with a confident approach. They sell young prospective stars to Europe (Vinicius Junior, Lucas Paqueta, Renier) and utilize the money to bring back two different sorts of players from the other side of the Atlantic. First, there are the veterans, including goalkeeper Diego Alves, left back Filipe Luiz, midfielder Diego, and now center back David Luiz. Second, players in their mid-twenties who have struggled to find a place in strong European teams, such as Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique, who are now joined by centre forward Pedro, and more recently Andreas Pereira and Kenedy of the Premier League.
Jorge Jesus, a Portuguese coach, developed the all-conquering squad of 2019, relying on a fearless front four. At the time, there was widespread agreement in Brazilian football that it would not work, that it would imbalance the side and leave it vulnerable in the front. That now seems to be insane. After Jorge Jesus left for Benfica, all following managers, including current leader Renato Portaluppi, have retained the same front four: Barbosa and Bruno Henrique, with Everton Ribeiro and Uruguayan Giorgian De Arrascaeta providing subtle playmaking. And the club has continued to add possibilities since the days of Jorge Jesus.
De Arrascaeta has been working hard to stay in shape. There is no such thing as a like-for-like substitute, but the nefarious little winger Michael has had a fantastic season and will undoubtedly play a role. Then there’s Pedro, a centre-forward who is technically excellent but lacks speed. Vitinho, a two-footed player, is only one of several options. The difficulty is at the opposite end of the field. Flamengo have experienced defensive issues with the departure of Spanish center defender Pablo Mari to Arsenal. He was used to playing on a high line, which allowed the squad to press and maintain a tight formation. His successors do not possess the same set of abilities. They may go even deeper, stretching out the squad.
There is optimism that David Luiz will be able to help fix the matter. Injury has cut short his tenure with the club, but he is a defensive upgrade over what came before him, which may sound unusual. And, of course, with his passing range and ability to get the ball out of defence, he is quite helpful in possession.
Since his return to Palmeiras, Dudu has been outstanding. Getty Images/Wagner Meier
In the Palmeiras squad, there are less household names. Luiz Adriano, a centre striker with much of European experience, is likely to be benched. There’s also Felipe Melo, an experienced center midfielder who began his career at Flamengo. Abel Ferreira, the team’s Portuguese coach, will have to make a huge choice. Will he go with Felipe Melo because of his expertise and passing range? Is Danilo, a young, energetic left-footed player, a better option because of his added mobility? One thing is for certain. Ferreira will try for speed up front, hoping to sneak behind Flamengo’s questionable defense. The stocky tiny Rony, who was acquired as a winger but has turned into a fast, gnat-like striker capable of spearheading the assault, is the most effective offensive weapon.
The return of club icon Dudu, a swift and delicate backup striker who provides the squad a broader offensive repertoire than they demonstrated at the start of the year in two goalless outings in the Club World Cup, has been a vital addition this year. Raphael Veiga, a left-footed playmaker, will be expected to keep up his current fine form and provide the attackers. Will Abel Ferreira combine him with another offensive midfielder, Gustavo Scarpa? Is it possible that this may leave the team too vulnerable? He has a plethora of speedy wingers on the bench to unleash on tired defenders, and the recent head-to-head record between the two teams is a compelling justification for keeping things tight.
Palmeiras last defeated Flamengo in November of last year. Since then, they’ve lost five games and drawn four, one of which resulted in a loss after a penalty shootout. There’s no way this is a coincidence. The explanation is straightforward. Palmeiras, headed by Gustavo Gomez of Paraguay, like to sit deep in front of Weverton, their great goalkeeper. They have the ability to neutralize rival teams’ offensive threats. Flamengo, on the other hand, brings more skill to the table than anybody else on the continent. There isn’t as much room for mistake. Abel Ferreira is hopeful that having more time to concentrate on just one game would help him figure out the solution. His group must never get complacent.
The goal should be to hit Flamengo as frequently as possible on the counterattack. And there’s a lesson to be learned from Flamengo’s victory against River Plate in 2019 to kick off this new era of Brazilian dominance. The Argentines led for the most of the race and were just three laps away from winning. However, errors were punished, and by the conclusion of regular time, they had lost not just their lead, but the match as well. Palmeiras will need to be at their best if they are to maintain their continental title and win for the eleventh time against Flamengo.
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Flamengo is a Brazilian soccer club based in Rio de Janeiro that plays in the Campeonato Brasileiro. The team was founded on November 24, 1906 as Foot-Ball Club do Fluminense and adopted its current name in 1912. Flamengo is one of the most popular clubs in Brazil, with over 150 million fans globally, and has won 33 national titles. Reference: flamengo fc results.
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