Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One more story about Nacional 1971: how about the ‘goalkeeper’s curse’? Goalkeepers were and are the pariahs in South America. In Europe they have some aura, they are often respected – Zamora and Planicka were huge stars before the Second World War for instance. Under the Southern Cross goalies were always guilty and more so in Brazil. Barbosa was hated to the end of his life for the winning goal the Uruguayans scored in his net in 1950. He was blamed and is still is blamed for the world title Brazil lost. But more you can read in Alex Belos’s ‘Futebol. The Brazilian Way of Life’. Ailton Correa Arruda or Manga (born 1937) was goalkeeper of the disastrous Brazilian team at the World Cup 1966. The team is regarded the worst Brazilian squad ever. Now, imagine the outrage in 1966… and then ‘sober’ views… well, can you really think Pele ‘the worst”? Who made the team so bad? Must be the goalie. Manga played for Botafogo with the likes of Nilton Santos, Zagallo, and Garincha (no matter what, nobody hates Garincha!), not an obscure player, if not a star. But he moved away from Brazil in 1967 – joined Nacional. In my opinion, Manga run away to a more tolerable place, where nobody will pester him. He won 4 national titles with Nacional – 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972, Libertadores Cup, and the Intercontinental Cup in 1971. Then he returned to Brazil, winning 2 national championships with Internacional (Porto Alegre) in 1975 and 1976 (King Pele has zero Brazilian titles in contrast). Then he played for smaller teams, before finally moving to Ecuador to win yet another national title with Barcelona in 1981 and finishing his career at the age of 44. Not bad for a goalie well remembered for 1966 fiasco and never called to the national team after that. Perhaps Manga took to heart the ‘lesson’ of Barbosa… who was forbidden to visit the Brazilian training camp as late as 1993 for fear of bringing bad luck.
Barbosa – unforgiven to death. Recently Dida pleaded for clemency… but who believes a goalie in Brazil?
Manga played in the last World Cup 1966 Brazilian match – and lost from Portugal.
The team against Portugal:standing: Orlando, Manga, Brito, Denílson, Rildo and Fidélis;first row: Mário Américo (masseur), Jairzinho, Lima, Silva, Pelé and Paraná.
The worst ever?
Manga (right) lifts the Brazilian championship cup in 1975. He is not listed among the legends of Internacional (Porto Alegre). Was he a bad goalkeeper? Or just unmentionable one?