Friday, 20 May 2011

Brasileirão In Focus: Flamengo

The biggest and most supported team in Brasil. This year they were far and away best team in the Campeonato Carioca, winning both the Taça Guanabara and the Taça Rio. They recently crashed out of the Copa do Brasil after a thrilling two legs against Ceará, to the disappointment of the Mengão faithful.

They had a difficult season last year, only just avoiding relegation, but considerable squad changes during the transfer window have reinstated them as one of the favourites for the league title. There have been a few departures, unsuccessful loan signings Diogo and Michael have returned to Europe, left back Juan has gone to São Paulo, and Kleberson has been sent out on loan to Atletico PR.

The arrivals have been the more important part, Ronaldinho Gaúcho ended huge speculation about his future when he finally signed for the rubro-negro in January, and the other big arrival came in the shape of attacking midfielder and former Fluminense ídolo Thiago Neves, who signed from Al-Hilal. Besides the two big names, there have been some other very useful additions, left back Egídio returned from his loan at Vitória, goalkeeper Felipe signed from Sporting Braga in Portugal, and Argentine Dario Bottinelli arrived from Universidad Católica to provide an extra option in attack.

Flamengo's signing of Ronaldinho Gaúcho will have all eyes on the rubro-negro. Photo: AP/Felipe Dana

The squad looks strong, in defence Leo Moura is still one of the best right backs in the country, and the returning Egídio has made the left back role his own, linking up superbly with Ronaldinho Gaúcho when he goes forward. Willians is a natural Brazilian volante (defensive midfielder), great engine, great stamina and a good ball winner. Alongside him, Renato Abreu has been converted into a defensive midfielder from his favoured central attacking position. He is a hard worker who is known for his ridiculously powerful shot. In attack, if Flamengo can keep Ronaldinho and Thiago Neves fit and scoring goals, they could be very successful this year.

The opposing argument is that this team is one with too many big names, and not enough of a team spirit. If they hit a slow patch, coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo could be shown the door and a promising team could turn into a disaster.

Expected formation:
football formations


Renato said...


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