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Brazil's Soccer Team Looks for a Leader to Fill the Vacant Captain Role

06/25/2018 - 11h55

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CAMILA MATTOSO
DIEGO GARCIA
LUIZ COSENZO
SERGIO RANGEL
SOCHI AND MOSCOW

The World Cup has already begun and, at the very least, Brazil - which lacks a leader out on the pitch - will need to muster up the strength to tie its upcoming match against Serbia on Wednesday (the 6th) if it wants to advance to the round of sixteen.

Ever since he officially debuted as head coach of the Brazilian national team in September 2016, Tite has avoided naming a team captain. He has applied the same mentality he used when he was coaching Brazilian team Corinthians, in which the honor of wearing the captain armband rotated from player to player. In total, 17 different players wore the armband since then.

The Brazil team had always defined a particular captain in previous editions of the World Cup, such as Dunga, who led the team to its fourth World Cup title in 1994. Back in 1970, when the country won its third World Cup title, it was Carlos Alberto Torres - referred to as "Capita" from that moment onward - who got to raise the trophy. In 1958, when Brazil won the World Cup for the first time, Bellini was the team captain, but Zito, Didi and Zagallo were the team's leaders. In 2002, when Brazil won its fourth title, Cafu was the captain.

Since Tite took over as head coach, Daniel Alves, 35, who played in both the 2010 and the 2014 editions of the World Cup, was the player who got to wear the captain armband the most. He wore it on four occasions but was cut from the team after sustaining a knee injury.

Thiago Silva, 33, was named captain in Brazil's win against Costa Rica on Friday (the 22nd). His reign as team captain was put into question, though, when he refused to participate in the dramatic penalty shootout in the round of 16 match against Chile.

Rodolfo Buhrer / La Imagem/Fotoarena/Folhapress
Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva

So far, Marcelo, 30, was the only other player named captain in Russia. He even reprimanded Neymar after beating Costa Rica. After the final whistle, the forward sat on the ground and covered his face with his hands. "Let's go. Cut it out, cut it out," Marcelo shouted.

Neymar, Brazil's main player, has been named team captain of the Brazil team on 11 occasions. But after winning the Olympic gold medal in 2016, he decided to pass the armband on to someone else. He said he didn't like the pressure that came with the job.

After becoming head coach, Tite approached Neymar about the captaincy. He came around, but only on one occasion: in the 3-0 win against Paraguay in March of last year.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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