South America wrap: Real Madrid’s Kaká earns Brazil recall
Charlie Reynoldsreflects on an eventful week in South America, which saw Real Madrid's Kaká earn a Brazil recall
Kaká earns Brazil recall
He may not have played since his country’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Netherlands in 2010, but Kaká looks set to appear for the Selecao once again after being named in Mano Menezes’ squad for their forthcoming friendlies against Iraq and Japan. The midfielder has yet to make a competitive appearance this season for Real Madrid, although he made the most of a midweek friendly against Colombian side Millonarios, scoring a hat-trick. The move has come as a surprise to some in Brazil, particularly considering Kaká has never featured during Menezes’ spell as head coach, and his lack of playing time this season. The former World Player of the year will travel from Spain with Madrid team-mate Marcelo, Valencia’s Diego Alves and Barcelona pair Dani Alves and Adriano.
Brazilian bishops outraged by Neymar magazine cover
Neymar has offended a Brazilian religious organisation by appearing on a magazine cover being crucified. The Brazilian National Bishops Confederation were outraged by the cover of Placar magazine which featured the Santos striker as Jesus on the cross, calling it disrespectful. The magazine, one of the most successful sports publications in Brazil, said the picture was a metaphor for the criticism the young star had received for diving too often. CNBB president Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis said in a letter, posted on the organisation’s website, that the publication had shown disdain towards people’s feelings. “The Brazilian National Bishops Confederation states that it feels severely outraged with the [photo] montage that is is the cover of a sports magazine, where the image of Jesus Christ is seen with the face of a football player,” the statement said. “This is a clear lack of respect that offends the most sacred image for Christians and updates, in a hazardous manner, the well-known resource of gaining attention by provocation.” An online petition against Placar’s use of the image of Neymar as Jesus Christ, has gained over 7,000 signatures since its launch.
Santos win first Recopa Sudamericana despite Neymar miss
Santos beat Universidad de Chile last week to claim their first ever Recopa Sudamericana, contested between the winners of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana. They won 2-0 thanks to goals from Bruno Rodrigo, as well as Neymar, and despite the fact the star striker missed a penalty in the match, he declared himself extremely happy with the landmark win. “I’m extremely happy. A lot of people downplayed this competition but we took it very seriously,” he said. “It’s another title for us, it was a trophy we had never won.” The win for his club ensured Brazilian teams have now won more Sudamericana titles than any other South American country.
River thrash Arsenal to ease pressure on manager
River Plate produced a convincing victory this weekend against last season’s surprise champions Arsenal de Sarandi to relieve some of the pressure that had been building on their manager Matias Almeyda. The Nuñez club took the lead late on in a scrappy first half, midfielder Leo Ponzio breaking the deadlock with an excellent long-range strike. However the game was effectively won in the space of six minutes in the second half, first Carlos Luna combined well with Rodrigo Mora to deftly double River’s lead and then Arsenal’s influential Colombian midfielder saw red for a clumsy challenge. With the hosts down to ten men, River were able to take the game out of sight and second-half substitute, the often-maligned Rogelio Funes Mori, sealed victory with two late goals. The win moves River up to tenth in the table after their poor recent run. Elsewhere a draw for Newell’s Old Boys against Tigre was enough for them to maintain their lead at the top after Velez Sarsfield slipped up against Colon.
Goal of the week – Belgrano’s Farre’s strike against Quilmes
An absolute stormer. Farre makes the most of a weak defensive clearance by firing in a stunning first-time volley from outside the area.