Number 10 legend Pele believes a lack of “ginga” in the Brazil national team is the reason why the Seleção has fallen from its perch, and is no longer the envy of the world.
Ginga, or individual/artistic flair as it is best described, was credited as a fundamental element in making a number of Brazilian players stand out from the rest, helping forge the country’s legacy as guardians of ‘the beautiful game’.
Now, Brazil’s greatest ever player and main protagonist in their illustrious history, has given his scathing verdict on the current state of the national team, whilst revealing his prevailing sadness since Germany’s 7-1 demolition in the 2014 World Cup, telling ESPN:
I am sad just talking about it. I cried watching that game and not just because of the score. I cried because I do not know what happened to the joy of Brazilian football. There is no ginga!
Myself, Gerson, Rivelino, and Tostao were all No. 10s and yet [coach Mario] Zagallo wanted us all on the field at the same time so he created a formation that could accommodate us.
Then in Japan [at the 2002 World Cup], we had Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Rivaldo who all had great flair and we won again. But today we have a coach who doesn’t care about individual expression.
The coach in question is ex-combative midfielder Dunga, and the former Santos forward continued with his thoughts that by primarily building a team – Neymar aside – that is a reflection of the current coach’s playing style, Brazil has fallen behind other teams from the continent; both in terms of aesthetics and results.
Other South American countries like Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador now play more beautiful soccer than Brazil and you see what happens in the last two Copa Americas. We lose to Paraguay on penalties!
Neymar cannot do it alone. You saw what happened in the World Cup when he couldn’t play against Germany.
Maybe this summer in the Olympics and Copa America, we can remind the world of how Brazil plays soccer, but it will not be easy. I fear we have lost our way.