Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jonathan Wilson: Emerson Leão knows the difficulties Ney Franco may face at São Paulo

Emerson Leão is notoriously cantankerous and dismissive of journalists, so I confess I was a little apprehensive when I went to interview him in Brazil in February. He was the coach of São Paulo at the time, so we met before training one morning at the club's leafy training complex. He talked, forcefully but agreeably enough, about his experiences playing in goal for Brazil in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups and seemed genuinely interested in the book I was researching on the history of goalkeeping (it should come out later this year).

He even referred to it in a press conference later that day, although he referred to me as "an American journalist".

The club's media officer, evidently happy with how things were progressing, wandered off, at which Leão's tone abruptly changed. The flow of anecdotes ended. He stopped talking up how great he had been, how he'd bought a training video for goalkeepers in West Germany and found that he was used in 70% of the clips, how he'd been the first goalkeeper to captain Brazil at the World Cup. He suddenly became a man fighting desperately against a changing world, a coach who, frankly, could see his end coming.

No comments: