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I was originally going to refrain from commenting on the Rio State Tournament. It is a relic, like all the other State Tournaments, from the time there was no National Tournament, but we Cariocas love our little relic. We just feel other people don’t understand the appeal.

Then, something like this happens.

The first derby of the year: Botafogo vs Vasco, the Friendship Derby. That name will have to change soon if Vasco keeps beating on Botafogo like a rented mule every chance they get (Thanks for the metaphor, German.) This time it was 6×0, inside the beautifully built but perpetually empty Botafogo’s stadium the Engenhão. Dodô, who used to play for Botafogo, and who was suspended for two years for steroid use due to some nutritional supplement given by the team, had his revenge this weekend, scoring a hat-trick in the first half and opening the floodgates for the historic thrashing of the Lone Star.

All the while, in Flamengo…

Vágner Love is home, but the home is not yet complete.

Our defense is shaky, since the midfield is where we lost most players since last year (Aírton and Everton -sold; Zé Roberto – loan expired; Maldonado, Williams – injured). So, while we have won the past three games, we got scored on 4 times total, a worrisome number.

Love, who has nothing to do with that, played his first game and was the happiest man I ever seen score a goal for Flamengo. And then he scored another one, guaranteeing our victory for 2×1.

It’s the beginning of a new year, we can expect much more than the little pleasures…