South America

Martín Palermo recently became Boca Juniors’ record goalscorer, though some historians disagree. Sam Kelly investigates

On March 1, in La Bombonera, Martín Palermo scored the opener in Boca Juniors’ 3‑1 win over Huracán. Luciano Figueroa would score the hosts’ other two, but the following day it was Palermo on the front pages. Not only was it his first goal – in his third appearance and first start – after six months out with a knee injury, but it was his 195th in official competition for the club. He had just become the highest goalscorer in Boca’s history. Except for one thing: there’s a player who got more than 195 goals for Boca. Roberto Cherro, whose spell with the club lasted from 1926 until 1938, scored 221 times, and Palermo is still some way off that.

For Flamengo goalkeeper Bruno scoring goals has become as important as saving them and he’s not alone, says Robert Shaw

By common consent, the Vasco da Gama v Flamengo derby on March 22 was a relatively clean game marred by overzealous card-waving from referee Luiz Antonio Silva dos Santos. However, observers also pointed out that the official somehow missed a wild halfway-line follow-through by Flamengo goalkeeper Bruno that threatened to decapitate Vasco’s Edu Pina.

Down with el presidente! Revolution has come to Newell's Old Boys, in Che Guevara's home town. Joel Richards reports

The city of Rosario’s most famous son would have been proud. The 14-year “dictatorship” of Eduardo López at Newell’s Old Boys came to an end in December. “At last,” bellowed opposition leader Guillermo Lorente upon hearing the news, “Newell’s belongs to its fans.” Che Guevara was a Rosario Central supporter, but he would not have begrudged fans of the rival team this victory.

Argentina have a new coach with a glorious playing past but, as Chris Bradley writes, many fans are uncertain about his future

It has been a roller-coaster few weeks for the Argentine national team. It began on October 15 when they fell to ignominious defeat against a superior Chile side, for whom it was a first ever victory over Argentina in a World Cup qualifier. Between that low and their 1-0 friendly win over Scotland on November 19, they have lived something of a soap opera.

Goal celebebrations in Brazil are becoming ever more choreographed and controversial, writes Robert Shaw

One of the best-known and most imitated goal celebrations is ­Bebeto’s baby-rocking tribute to newly born son Matheus during the 1994 World Cup game with Holland. This season a different ­Bebeto’s post-goal antics were received with less popular acclaim in Brazil.

Brazil is suddenly keen on its football heritage – but with the emphasis on the Ricardo Teixeira years Robert Shaw reports

“The Maracaña has to be blown up. It is impossible to remake it, or even to adapt it to host a World Cup.” “This venue is simply fantastic for the history of Brazilian football.” Spot the difference. In 2004, Ricardo Teixeira president of the Brazilian football federation (CBF) was talking down his country’s most famous stadium as well as the game’s history before 1994, but by this September Teixeira could barely contain his enthusiasm for the past at the inauguration of São ­Paulo’s Museu do Futebol. Teixeira now expects a revamped Maracaña to host the 2014 World Cup final.

When Nacional lingered one minute too long in the dressing room, the referee called off their match. Chris Bradley reports

Players from Nacional, one of Uruguay’s most successful and popular clubs, walked down the tunnel on August 31 knowing they needed a win to stay top of the table. Yet by the time they reached the pitch they found their game against Villa Española had been abandoned. Referee Liber Prudente ruled Nacional had forfeited the match by being one minute late. He subsequently left the stadium with a police escort to avoid fans waiting outside, baying for his blood. The unprecedented conclusion to the match plunged the once tranquil world of Uruguayan football into violence, threats, ­hearings, appeals and intense debate.

Brazil’s quest for Olympic glory fell short once more, adding to the pressure on Dunga in the World Cup, writes Robert Shaw

A new film called 1958 – The Year in Which The World Discovered Brazil has the team fondly recalling how the blue shirts worn to beat Sweden in the World Cup final were hurriedly bought at a local shop. The badge of the football federation was then stitched on. Fifty years on and Brazil’s Olympic team turn up to collect their bronze medals with sticking plasters over offending badges – the full national football team wear Nike shirts, while Olympikus sponsor the Olympic team,

An Argentine investigation into players claiming Italian heritage could stem the flow of transfers to Europe, says Rodrigo Orihuela

In 2003, Leganés, a small Segunda División club from the suburbs of Madrid, made headlines by signing 16 Argentine players, most of whom held EU passports (Spanish clubs are permitted to field a maximum of three players from countries outside the EU). Results were bad and the Argentine businessman who bankrolled the team dropped out at mid-season, with most of the players leaving by year’s end. The Leganés case was the most extreme illustration yet of how the Bosman ruling has brought about an influx into Europe of South America players claiming EU citizenship.

Vasco da Gama's new president had to overcome electoral fraud before tackling years of neglect. Robert Shaw reports

Like many Brazilian footballers, Carlos Roberto de Oliveira was always known by a nickname – in his case Dinamite. In a career spanning three decades he scored 470 goals for one of the big Rio clubs, Vasco da Gama, as well as having a brief spell at Barcelona. Now he has a new role, as a president of his former club, having defeated one of the most controversial figures in Brazilian football, Eurico Miranda, in an election at the end of June.

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