In one of the best literary portraits of the passion for football ever written, “Febre de Bola” (Companhia das Letras), published in 1992, Englishman Nick Hornby speaks in original terms of his childhood enchantment with the Brazilian team that was three-time champion in Mexico in 1970.
For him, the team of Pelé, Tostão and Jairzinho reminded “the pink Rolls-Royce of Penélope Charmosa and the Aston Martin of James Bondboth equipped with fancy gadgets like ejection seats and camouflaged weapons that set them apart from normal, bland carts” (translation by Christian Schwartz).
Drawn from pop culture, the retro futuristic images of “Febre de Bola” speak of a time when real life was full of “normal and dull” VW Beetles, while a certain collective imagination dreamed of space travel and home appliances that promised to do just that. housework alone.
Today we know that that was the last moment in which Western human beings had the right to believe, without being called naive, that technological progress would lead the world to a future of increasing well-being for all.
As it would soon become clear, the vain Penelope was doing tremendous harm to the feminist cause, not least because she was dependent on Peter Perfect for protection, and James Bond was a hit man in the service of a perverse imperial power.
Yes, it was that world of “fancy gadgets, ejection seats and concealed weapons” –all fossil fuel powered, of course– that brought the planet to the brink of environmental collapse and gave way to Elon Musk.
Evidently, the selection of tri has nothing to do with this. We’re talking about metaphors, extremely context-sensitive mental creatures. Still, as someone who was also a kid in 1970, every World Cup I find myself thinking again about that pink Rolls-Royce.
I confess that the adorable childhood images drawn by Hornby never left my mind to account for what escaped common sense in that mythological team, the highest point in the history of Brazilian and world football. I wish I had written that.
And doesn’t it make sense? In Qatar, the Brazilian team showed that it continues to work in the field of hidden weapons under a wing on the bumper. what is that volley richarlison🇧🇷 What are the similarities of personality of Neymar with Penelope Charmosa?
The fact is that the tricks have lost their effectiveness. Our football is far from the peak that led another Briton, historian Eric Hobsbawm, to write this vertiginous eulogy: “Who, having seen the Brazilian team in its glory days, will deny its claim to the condition of art?”.
Decline was inevitable, according to Hornby: “In a way, Brazil spoiled everything for all of us. It had revealed, there, a kind of Platonic ideal that no one, not even Brazil itself, would ever be able to achieve again.”
It may be, but football hasn’t stopped spinning. In 2022, even Hornby’s England, who would say, attended with a beautiful team. And the genial Messi, in one of the most exuberant career endings ever seen, has repeatedly pressed the button that ejects the nostalgic from any serious conversation.
Billionaire, ultra-processed, governed by a mafia entity, football is alive. All that remains is for Brazil to build an updated car that, in addition to the secret weapons, has a design and engine capable of reaching the end of the journey. Who knows an electric model?
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