Argentines end the game singing with their fans while Brazilians listen to the “shameless team” of their fans, writes Mario Andrada

How much is the Brazilian Football Team played by men worth? There are 3 classic measures for this type of assessment:

  • the official value of sponsorship contracts;
  • the market value of its players; It is
  • the potential for return with actions focused on the fans’ consumer appetite (sale of shirts, tickets for games in Brazil and travel packages for international competitions).

We don’t even need to turn to a financial expert to confirm the general perception that the team’s “shares” are on the decline. Recent results confirm this.

We are talking about Brazil’s worst campaign in a World Cup qualifier (in this case, the 2026 World Cup in North America). We played 9 games with 5 defeats, 1 draw and 3 wins. On Tuesday (November 21, 2023), we suffered our first home defeat in the history of the qualifiers and ended the year with a 37% success rate, according to Sofascore statistics.

In the same period, Portugal’s team had a 100% success rate, Argentina 90%, while Belgium achieved 87%, France, Japan and Spain, 83%. Of the 32 countries that competed in the last World Cup in Qatar, Brazil would be in 29th place in a ranking post-World Cup imaginary.

It is clear that the performance statistics are contaminated due to the unevenness of the opponents that each country chooses to train their national team. Even so, the bearish bias in the field could not be more evident.

Before the 2022 World Cup, the total value of players called up to the national team was estimated at US$1.1 billion by the website Transfermarkt. Now, the same website indicates a small drop to US$ 1.09 billion.

Those who support this value are the athletes who, despite the team’s poor performance, continue to value themselves individually in the international market due to their performance in the clubs they defend. Even so, we are in a downward trend, certainly driven by Neymar, who, despite a million-dollar contract with the Saudis, no longer arouses the same interest in the big European clubs.

No front commercial, CBF received around US$200 million in sponsorship in 2005 and then saw its revenue grow dramatically to US$1 billion in 2017, according to statistics from Sambafoot. Today, CBF has agreements with 16 brands and reported annual revenue of R$567 million per year.

The research has flaws since we are in a universe where real numbers are rarely shared with society. The downward sign, however, leaves no doubt. The team is worth less and less in the sponsorship market. Some signs seen on TV make this lack of prestige clear. Anyone who watched one of Portugal’s games in the Euro 2024 qualifiers noticed our countrymen’s team wearing new Nike uniforms. The tracksuit that athletes wear during the anthem (Anthem Jacketin the world of uniforms) is simply stunning.

The same sources showed that CBF athletes do not usually wear warm clothes when singing the anthem. All of the supplier’s attempts to create an iconic product for this moment failed. The TVs also showed that the coaching staff continues to wear almost the same uniforms as 10 years ago. These are clothes with a lot of space among the brands that sponsor the team and without any respect for aesthetics.

Coach Fernando Diniz’s pitchside tantrums seem especially pathetic with the uniform so offensive to good taste. Nike even seems to have lost interest in official national team shirt launch events. The new, increasingly less creative uniforms appear “leaked” on the internet without getting any space in the media, beyond official footnotes.

Hopscotch will always be iconic, but it no longer has the same prestige as before. There are 2 main reasons:

  • The 1st is the CBF’s resistance to changes in game uniforms. The approval of a new national team shirt is considered martyrdom by Nike executives. In Ricardo Teixeira’s time, the CBF included the details of the shirt in the entity’s statutes just to contain new ideas, especially the most creative ones, from the North American supplier. Do not doubt that Portugal will sell many more shirts of its national team than Brazil this year;
  • the 2nd reason is political. The kidnapping of the team’s shirt by the Bolsonarist movement in the last government drove at least half of Brazilians away from stores that sell the team’s uniforms.

Other evidence of the low prestige of the men’s team appeared very prominently in the last defeat to Argentina at Maracanã. The lack of leadership stands out, both on and off the field.

During the plenipotentiary times of João Havelange and Ricardo Teixeira, the CBF always made its political power and demands clear. The Ednaldo Rodrigues administration, however well-intentioned it may be, is still immensely far from deserving the same respect that the famous sports dictators previously demanded and obtained left and right.

Out of Christian charity, we will spare readers a saga of political and financial scandals that have marked the entity in recent years.

Last Wednesday (22.Nov.2023) the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, one of the main teams in the NBA, the professional basketball league in the USA, Gregg Popovich, gave an example of the type of leadership that is missing in our football. In the middle of his team’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Popovich went to the table, picked up the microphone used to communicate with fans in the gym and asked his fans to stop booing Kawhi Leonard, former Spurs player, now star. In Los Angeles. Order placed, order accepted instantly. The game continued without boos.

When Brazilian and Argentine fans started fighting each other in the Maracanã stands, the world champions immediately went to look after their own and asked everyone to calm down. None of the Brazilian athletes appeared in the conflict zone.

When the police started knocking, Lionel Messi immediately took his team off the field with a hand signal. Our athletes preferred to provoke their rivals by accusing them of running away from their lane.

Rodrygo, who according to Buenos Aires media, had called his rivals “shitholes”, was scolded by the best in the world in front of everyone. Messi reminded the Real Madrid midfielder what all the Brazilians there seemed to forget: “We are the champions of the world”.

The official note that the CBF published after the match also perfectly illustrates the defects that everyone knows about in our football. One sentence summarizes the problems:

“The CBF reaffirms that the action, security and operation plan for the match was strictly followed, as approved by the RJ Military Police and other authorities.”

Either way, the plan was poorly designed and no one in authority at the stadium did a decent job of solving the problem.

It’s irresistible to mention a quote from Spanish player Jenni Hermoso, after winning the Women’s World Cup in August in Australia and New Zealand: “We are not aware. “We are the champions of the fucking world.”

That’s what matters in football and in any sport. Whoever wins sets an example and deserves all our respect.

Perhaps the quickest way for the team, its coach and ball managers to recover the prestige that the five-time champion country insists on losing is to act like champions and not like the opaque and spoiled stars they are today.


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