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'I Would Never Be Comfortable among Politicians, My Arena is Soccer,' Says Brazilian Team's Coach
12/04/2017 - 10h54
SPECIAL ENVOY TO MOSCOW
Soccer and politics have been an old combination in Brazil. However, Tite, the coach of the country's national team, does not want to play along.
After leaving Brazil on its way to the World Cup, traditionally the Brazilian team visits the president in the capital, Brasilia. This time Tite was clear. Questioned on how he would feel next to President Michel Temer, the coach answered: "I would not feel comfortable next to any politician. My arena is soccer," Tite said in Moscow, where he took part in the group draw for the 2018 World Cup.
|Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press|
|Brazilian soccer team coach Tite, right, and former Brazil player Edu smile after the 2018 soccer World Cup draw in the Kremlin in Moscow, Friday Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) ORG XMIT: WCD207|
"You should not mix these things," Tite added - in Russia, he was not accompanied by Marco Polo Del Nero, the president of the CBF, the governing body of soccer in Brazil. Del Nero is accused by the FBI of benefiting from an illegal scheme through which he allegedly received bribes to sell rights to competitions.
As the Brazilian team was pointed as the No.1 favorite to win the next World Cup by the coaches who attended the event in Russia, Tite showed caution. "I cannot promise anything. I am not a demagogue," Tite said as he was asked if he preferred to win the World Cup or put on a show to impress fans.
Tite lamented Brazil's lack of luck in the tournament in the past. The team chose Sochi as its base for practice; however, it will not play in the local stadium.
In the first phase, Brazil will play its matches in Rostov-do-Don, Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Its adversaries will be Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
The Brazilian delegation will travel a total of 7,376 kilometers, including all two-way air trips from and to Sochi. "I'll tell it straight: I didn't like it," said Tite.
Translated by THOMAS MUELLO