In our latest Skill Academy lesson, Danny Owen details the art of the Rainbow Flick, as perfected by the likes of Neymar, Robinho and former Tottenham target Leandro Damiao.
“He needs to seriously think about how he should act. Maybe that sort of thing is accepted in Brazil, but it’s a thorny issue in Spain. Here it’s seen as a lack of respect” – Xavi
“If I were an Athletic player I would have reacted the same, or perhaps worse” – Luis Enrique
It’s not every day a club legend criticises you in the full view of the watching world, or your coach not-so-subtly threatens you with a tendon-ripping Achilles rake. Especially not following a feat of such innate ingenuity it can only have emerged from a Brazilian brainwave. But, the mobbish fury of the Athletic Bilbao players after Neymar’s display of peacocking flamboyance hinted at a world no longer accepting of such imagination.
Yet, Neymar may be viewed as the epitomising overlord of the modern game, the tricking, flicking consequence of an evolution from black-boots and handshakes to lurid leather and on-pitch selfies, but in reality he is one of a dying breed. Something his countrymen know only too well.
Brazil is a nation of passion, rhythm and almost intrinsic desire for entertainment. Especially on the football field. ‘Jogo Bonito’, they call it. The Beautiful Game to us. However, whereas football’s yellow clad Kings had Pele and Garrincha, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, Neymar now represents an isolated isotope of that very Brazilian tradition. Chances are, most of you reading this will have only heard the stories, gazed longingly upon short YouTube snapshots of ‘classic Brazil’.
So, lets give the people what they want. Pure, unfiltered Brazilliance infused with the streets of Samba-land.
And who better to start with than the man himself. Now, put yourself in the defenders shoes. You want to slowly and painfully extract his ligaments, right?. To the rest of us, however, this is FIFA Street come to life, worthy of MLG Air Horns and pounding D’n’B. Whatever that means.
From the injury-ravaged Alex Pato to the seal-dribbling Kerlon, the forgotten Ganso to the, erm, big-boned Adriano, the curse of the post-millennial Samba starlet has claimed the careers of countless would-be ‘new Peles’.
Robinho, however, lies somewhere in the middle. Even decorated CV, adorned with Real Madrid, Manchester City and AC Milan, fails to override the general feeling that the once British record signing could have been so much more. Though, at least we have this to remember him by.
Speaking of failed potential, here’s Leandro Damiao. Wonder if he still has Daniel Levy on speed dial….?
Speaking of failed potential (spot the theme?), here’s Djalminha. You might not have heard of him. And that’s entirely his own fault. He was a rather gifted footballer, you see, inspiring ‘Super Depor’ to the La Liga title in 2000 while wielding a wow-factor on par with Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.
Until he head-butted his manager on the training pitch. Thus, while Big Phil’s Brazil celebrated on South Korean soil in 2002, Djalminha watched on from home, banished and tainted.
“Just because others get angry doesn’t mean I am going to change my style of play.” We’re with you on that one Neymar, but we’re not sure the Bilbao players agree. Maybe wear two pairs of shinpads next time you visit the San Mames.
Now, we’ll admit it. This is a difficult one. But take solace in the fact that one succesful attempt means you’ve already done something distinctly more Brazilian with a football than Felipe Melo, Lucas Leiva, Paulinha, Fred or Jo.