Esta é a primeira publicação na qual contamos com a opinião de um adepto de futebol de outro país.
A opinião hoje publicada é de Davide Cafaggi, adepto italiano, a quem agradeço as respostas às questões que lhe coloquei.
O texto já tem vários dias mas só hoje foi possível publicá-lo.
Do you intend to follow the World Cup?
I followed every World Cup since I was born, it is always a strong emotion.
- Will the Italians follow the competition?
"Italians lose wars as if they were football matches, and football matches as if they were wars", said Sir Winston Churchill. He was right, we are crazy for Calcio!
I know some people who watch the Russian Premier League or even the Veikkausliiga in July and August, because they cannot be without matches for a few months during the summer break.. Every match is special at the World Cup, and we know that: squares, parks and bars will be full of people watching all of them.
- What is your expectancy about Italy's performance?
Gianluigi Buffon, Italy's veteran goalkeeper, said this week that "if we reach the quarter-finals, it will already be a good World Cup for us". Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Germany are all a step ahead of our team, but Italy sometimes gives its best in matches where we are not considered favourites. Personally, I agree with Buffon, but a little surprise is always welcome.
- Who do you think is the most valuable player in this Cup?
At the risk of sounding cliché, I will have to go with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. It will be interesting witnessing the next chapter of their "Who's the best?" debate, which has been raging in the past few years. This year, the Ballon d'Or 2014 and the Hormiga Atómica will try to take their teams where they have never been in recent editions.
- Who is the best player in the Italian squad?
The player list for our team has not been announced yet, tonight's friendly match against Ireland will be essential to clear Mr. Prandelli's doubts about the physical condition and preparation of some players. Amongst them, Giuseppe "Pepito" Rossi, who could very well be Italy's best. This year, he stayed away from the grass for four months, due to a knee injury. He should have fully recovered by now, as proven by the 2 goals scored on his comeback in May. Balotelli also has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best player of our team, but he needs to grow up and to be more consistent on the field. I hope Mario will see the World Cup as an opportunity to show everyone what he is capable of.
- Do you know the Portuguese squad?
Yes, I always liked Portuguese football players, like Figo or Conceição, but most of all Rui Costa, who played in my city's team for seven years and is still very beloved here.
- Who is for you the most valuable Portuguese player?
I will have to go with Cristiano Ronaldo again! Of course there are other players that are valuable and will probably do well, such as João Moutinho.
- What team will win the competition?
Brazil is surely the favourite: a great team, with stellar players and playing at home. Everything seems to point in that direction, but, as the Maracanaço and countless other episodes have taught us, the unexpected is what makes football the great sport it is. As the great Gary Lineker once said, "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."
- Who will be the best player?
Neymar is young and he will be very eager to prove his worth in the maximum competition. He's also on the home team! I hope he will shine enough to give us some moments of great football and start writing his history in World Cup competitions in a great fashion.
- If Italy doens't win, will you support another squad? If so, what team?
As Italians, we tend to support outsiders, teams that have never won the World Cup in their history. That is also because we wouldn't want Brazil's lead on Italy to increase, or anyone coming closer to our 4 wins! Naturally, we prefer smaller countries, with people that we perceive as closer to our culture, provided of course they can be winners with more grace than the current champions.. So, for this edition, I would be happy of supporting teams as Colombia, Portugal and Belgium!
- Did the Italian football suffer with the calcio caos?
Italian football has been suffering for more than a decade. Scandals of corruption have often plagued it, but that is not, sadly enough, the biggest problem. There is too much money in the modern football for the current financial structure and income model of our teams, and only a few of them can afford great players. This year Serie A was not particularly thrilling, since it was won by Juventus, with 102 points and only two losses. The same team who was eliminated from the Champions League in December and then from Europa League by Benfica (thank you!).
- What is the team that you support in Italy?
I support my city's team, Fiorentina. This year we came in fourth, notwithstanding the injuries which stopped some of our best players, such as Mario Gómez and Giuseppe Rossi. I also support a smaller team, C.S. Lebowski, which has been founded by its supporters (yes, founded by the supporters) and, starting from the lowest possible level, in the last two years has been promoted twice. I'd like to tell you more about it, but I'll just say, if you happen to be around Florence and you like football, make sure you come to see a game, you will not regret it!