Today there is a match between Brazil and the World Cup in Qatar. Anything? Let me try again: today Brazil is playing in the World Cup in Qatar. Nothing yet? Maybe I’m not being emphatic enough. Let’s try some exclamation points: today there’s a match between Brazil and the World Cup in Qatar!!!! Anything. Wow, this has never happened to me before… I’ll try one last time before continuing with the text: today 24 day of November 24, at 16 hours, Brazil takes the field for the first time in the World Cup in Qatar. Ah, the game is against Serbia.
Nothing. Absolutely no reaction. I don’t hear any cries of “Go, Brazil!”, of “Hexa is ours!”, of “Up them, Neymar!”, of “Serbia is nothing!”. I only hear shouts of “Thief referee!”, but I don’t think it has anything to do with football. In today’s Brazil, strictly speaking, this is a normal Thursday, Jupiter’s day and Friday’s eve. It’s as if a World Cup isn’t being played in far-off, exotic, tacky Qatar. As if Brazil were not favorites (they say). As if it hadn’t been 20 years since Vampeta rolled down the Planalto ramp.
Worse! The opening day of the Brazilian team in the World Cup became a day to take a political stand. Impossible to say that at 16 hours one intends to be comfortably seated in front of the television without hearing a reprimand. It is at this moment, in fact, that the two poles of politics seem to forget their disagreements. That’s when the “What do you mean you’re going to give an audience to Rede Globo?!” join hands with “It’s impossible to cheer for this fascist selection!” continue in last place in the pool, I contemplate with the bewilderment of an increasingly cranky old man the bad mood that surrounds me. It’s as if there’s no life outside of politics and the fear it arouses. And soon after, I lost myself in the delirium of being the bearer of bad news for Nelson Rodrigues and Paulo Mendes Campos: in 2022, the Brazilian doesn’t care about the World Cup in Qatar. Can you believe it?
At first they don’t believe it, they say I can only be kidding, that it’s not possible, that football is the soul of Brazilians, that this, that that. “If we are no longer the homeland of football boots, what have we become?” asks Nelson Rodrigues, sipping a Chicabon. Afraid to kill the two chroniclers for the second time, I hesitate, but I end up answering the obvious: we have become the country of politics. “Even during the national team’s World Cup game?!”, a scandalized namesake asks me. “¯_(ツ)_/¯”, I reply. And I’m being honest!
I exchange dreams for memory, like someone opening a paragraph at random and, when I realize it, I’m in front of the magic box whose leftist news today offends me so much. I’m a boy with bushy hair and gigantic floppy ears. My family surrounds me in good expectation. After some prodding, Mum (she hates being called “Mama”) allows us to make some popcorn. For 90 minutes, I even gain permission to curse, lightly, the judge. And the best: without being considered anti-democratic because of it.
Today there is a match between Brazil and the World Cup in Qatar. On the field, Neymar and ten other guys whose names escape me. I don’t know about you, but when the Anthem starts playing, and as much as I find it ridiculous, I’m going to get emotional. When Galvão Bueno unleashes his “rrrrrrrrrrrrola the ball”, I will cheer as if a lateral or a two-meter pass in midfield were the definitive moves of a lifetime.
When the opposing team (such as Serbia) rises to the attack, I will feel before the abyss. Ufa! This one came close. When the judge consults the VAR, I will complain about technology, high-performance sports, modernity, all this nonsense. When the referee calls Brazil a foul, I will ask for yellow cards for mere bumps and red cards when I feel like it.
And, as I am a son of my time, when the goal comes (if there is and there will be two) I will celebrate as if Alexandre de Moraes had suffered a impeachment . Or rather, as if Lula had gone back to the jail she should never have left.