Brazil look on target without a number nine

“‘I was too busy scoring goals to learn how to play football,’ says Dario, a legendary figure in Brazilian football from the 1960s and 70s. A charismatic character, Dario invents phrases as easily as he used to put the ball in the net. ‘There’s no such thing as an ugly goal,’ he once said. ‘Ugly is not scoring goals.’ If both remarks sound a little defensive, it is easy enough to explain. Brazilian football has been gifted with so many artists – players capable of snapping their marker in two with a sway of the hips, wrong-footing the keeper and then sliding home – that a little prejudice sometimes persists about the centre forward. The target man number nine whose game is restricted to getting the ball over the line can be seen, at best, as the exponent of a minor art.” BBC – Tim Vickery


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