No Emperors or Shieks. Without Adriano (suspended) or Émerson (sold to Al-Ain) – Flamengo depended on a team lead by the old Serbian warhorse Petkovic, full of new hires (Álvaro – first game; Maldonado – first game; Dênis Marques – 3rd game) and a peppering of young kids, age 17 to 19, coming from Flamengo’s juniors team.
Petkovic showed that he meant business when he said he was going to earn his place back on the team. The old warhorse completly ruled the midfield, and ran from start to finish, and showed that skill does not diminish with age.
Another delightful surprise was the reappearance of Zé Roberto, totted in the begining of the year (before Adriano) as the best hiring Flamengo had done yet – but until this weekend a complete disappointment. Apathetic, slow and appparently conformed, there were at least two attempted negotiation to sell him off, both blocked by the player himself. The general consensus is that he just wanted to pocket his salary of over U$ 50.000 a month and relax in Rio without having to actually put the effort.
The Zé Roberto of this weekend was the old Zé Roberto from his Botafogo days, dazzling fast, agile and bold – and made his peace with the ball by geting fouled on and giving us a penalty, and scoring the last goal – although, in all justice, Petkovic deserved that goal for the beautiful run in the last 2 minutes of the game.
It’s a start. After seeing the team lose three games in a row, the flamenguistas are a little weary of taking this game as a measure of what the team can do. We do hope, however. As Gramsci would say, pessimism of the intellect, optismism of the will.