It’s the final ever update from Rob’s Brazil series. Over the past 15 weeks, Rob has shown you how difficult it is to build an all Brazilian team but also how good it can be. Can he finish with a flourish? Catch up with part 14 here.
So we have reached the final part of the Samba story, what started as an idealistic adventure in Madeira will end as a three part Blue Peter special starring “The Real” Ronaldo and an excellent regen of Aldair attempting to win the Champions League after missing out in the final a year earlier. Part two ended with Sporting Brazilians (we are a well groomed side) six points clear in the league with twelve left to play and the Taca and Champions league trophies there for the taking. Without further waffle here we go.
Ronny and Co. continue their fantastic league form with a clinical home victory against Leiria.
It was exactly what we needed before hosting the always tough Manchester United in the Champ league quarters. United are playing Stefan Klos in goal who gets MOM but it is not enough to deny us a 2-0 victory. I feel like we have one foot in the semis but we would be silly to underestimate them.
As if to prove to ourselves how it could all go wrong we are terribly inaccurate away to Leca and despite out clear dominance of the match we drop two points. Denilson with an 83rd minute equaliser spares a few blushes and that annoying message from the board.
Only two days later we are away to Porto in the Taca semi final (they don’t do neutral grounds apparently). In a very even tie Hilario is the difference maker with his MOM performance as we lose 2-1. Annoyingly I sold CM Ledg. Nevland to Porto when I started the whole Brazilian team idea. Would have been nice to get the treble but it was not to be.
Five days later and guess what we play Porto again, this time in the league. We are worse than in the Taca, Hilario gets another MOM, Leandro scores again but Mercado misses his 81st minute penalty and we sneak a win, hopefully a momentum changer.
The games are coming thick and fast at the moment and we are in Manchester three days later for the second leg. In this gaming world Ferguson managed to secure the services of one Alan Shearer who has currently scored 35 goals in 43 games this season, not bad for 31 year old Big Al. It’s a very even match, we are much better that our previous games hitting the target seven times. Utd are on song too though and they have eight shots on target. Utd win on the night but it is not enough to overturn our lead and it feels like we managed to sneak through 4:3 on aggregate.
Our reward is another trip to England and what on paper sounds like an easy tie, however Leicester beat Juve in the last round so they clearly have a little but about them.
To make matters worse I get the following information sent through on the pager.
What the hell lads!
We finally resume some normal service against local rivals Benfica. Not even Scotty Minto’s 68th minute goal can upset us as we run home easy winners.
The international breaks see me finally achieve a mini milestone as Sporting Lisbon officially become Sporting Brazil, that’s all eleven players of mine starting. Although if he was using my formation I’m pretty sure we would beat Slovenia by more than one goal.
A few days later the lads are back in Lisbon facing Braga. We are cut throat in front of goal and after a seventh minute scare we brush them aside with ease.
Semi final time at Filbert Street and Kasey Keller is no match for Fat Ron. What were Juve playing at? Leicester only had one shot on target!
A bizarre league affair in Chaves sees us go three goals up in 12 minutes only to concede three in the next 33 minutes against ten men to run in at half time 3-3. Fortunately the L’s were on hand to grab a couple in the second half as we win the eight goal thriller.
Finally a week off to rest before we face Boavista and it does us the world of good. Dida has been a bit up and down this year but he is keeps a clean sheet as we run out easy winners in what seemed an even game. Djalminha has been a really good signing and him and Denny have been on fire, so much so that Juninho can’t get into the team.
I hadn’t checked the table for a while so I was a little surprised when I found this. Vitty G have had a nightmare with four points from seven games and suddenly we are 17 clear with five to play. Maths tells me that is enough to see us crowned champions! Maths tells the computer the same thing.
Ronny and the boys celebrate so hard that Ronny has to call in sick for the next couple of weeks.
He’s not needed against Leicester, Renaldo and George Jetson see us through to the final where we face.
There is a little bit of history between us, Ajax beat us in the final last year and are going for European domination, a third Champions League on the bounce. It’s going to be tough, and even more so when I find out that Marcio won’t be playing.
With the league over I do a bit of squad rotation to try and keep players fit but also in good form as we run up to the Champions League final. Penafiel are beaten 2-0, we draw with Academica 2-2, snatch a 1-0 win at home to Rio Ave and draw 3-3 away to Maia coming back from 0-3 down at half time and despite that being the 2nd eleven playing we will need to show the same sort of spirit if we hope to beat an excellent Ajax side.
The 22nd May arrives, it’s final day, this performance is “O fim da linha,” (the end of the line) for my Brazilian adventure, is what I’ve been aiming for and was denied a year ago by the same team. The starting eleven are chosen.
It’s going to be a tough match, especially when disaster strikes in the 8th minute. Captain and defensive giant Vinicius (Aldair) goes off injured. Gralak is on in his place. It gets even worse in the 14th minute when Goosens scores. We are not really at the races in the first half but when Ronny’s in your team you always have a chance and he scores in the 40th minute as we go in at the half 1:1. Dida really shows up in the second half with a fine display and I take back all the things I’ve said about him (he is still really inconsistent though). Unfortunately Van Der Sar is equally as good in their goal and despite a strong attacking showing the second half is goalless and we enter extra time. It looks like it is heading to penalties….
GRALAK !!!!!!!!!! You beauty, dream realised.
Oh and we win the last league game to go out with a bang.
What a year, here are a few stats from the team.
These two have been a pretty handy strike partnership over the last three years.
All that is left is to show you is the Annual awards.
I’m not sure if Ronaldo can win European footballer of the year, but he should have done, 45 goals and a Champions League winners medal. It’s been a fun three episodes, I can highly recommend building your own Brazilian super squad, maybe not in Madeira, unless you have the patience of a saint. Thanks for reading and if I come up with another idea maybe I will see you again (metaphorically of course). Tchau!
My thanks to Rob for a brilliant series. He’ll be back in future with more. You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator