“Cazá, cazá, cazá cazá cazá!” the man shouts in my face. It is the Sport battle cry, and in some places this would be considered poor manners. In Recife, it is normal enough behavior. Soon most of the bar has joined in (even if it is normal enough behavior, it is still very annoying, especially if, like me, you support Santa Cruz, Sport’s local rivals).
Even in football hotbeds, the Seleção often takes second place to the tribalism and club rivalries that are the lifeblood of the Brazilian game, and the religion of gozação, or mickey-taking. Among many Brazilian football fans there is the feeling that the Seleção is other-worldly and remote – its players ply their trade for the European super clubs, and the team has sold its soul to Nike and big business, becoming not much more than a money making tool for the CBF and its noxious president Jose Maria Marin (according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper the entity will earn more than U$128 million in sponsorship money during World Cup year).
In the world of Brazilian football the Seleção is the plush gated community and the local clubs are the favela or the periferia (the scruffy outer suburbs). And a lot more Brazilians live in favelas and the periferia than live in gated communities....
This piece of World Cup blarney is available in full on the A Football Report site. The fantastic painting, which shows Jesus (in a Santa Cruz shirt) being sold out by Judas (in a Náutico top) is by Recife artist Wellington Virgolino, and is a pretty good example of the importance of local rivalries in Brazilian football.