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England v Brazil: Greatest Brazilian players

Zico spraying passes in midfield, Pele's lethal finishing and Cafu's marauding runs from right back… ahead of England v Brazil, Sportsmail recalls the greatest Samba stars

PUBLISHED:

13:14 GMT, 5 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 5 February 2013

As the next generation of Brazilian players prepare to take on England at Wembley tomorrow night. Sportsmail's writers reveal their favourite Samba stars.

From Pele to Zico; from Ronaldo to Neymar, the South American country has delivered world class players for decades.

Do you agree with our experts Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

GARRINCHA

JEFF POWELL: Garrincha
is the player who most Brazilians regard as being their greatest,
greater than Pele. They have a point. Pele was dynamic but Garrincha was
beautiful to behold, the most exquisite player on the ball and a
goalscorer with flourish as well as power. He was almost impossible to
read on the dribble as a consequence of the rickets which afflicted him
in his impoverished youth and made him virtually double jointed at the
knee. A bon viveur, he used to go back to his home town after Brazil
matches at the Maracana to drink with the boys and kickabout with the
kids. A genius and a true man of the people.

JOHN GREECHAN:
Born crippled and left with one crooked leg even after restorative
surgery, the little winger looked as if he was forever swaying in a
strong breeze. The little footage that survives shows, however, that he
most often left opponents twisting in the wind. Oh, and he was Pele’s
hero. Enough said.

ZICO

MARK ALFORD: What a name, what a player. He floated around the pitch in his sweat-stained golden shirt, socks rolled down to his ankles, spraying passes about like a Latino Glenn Hoddle. He scored 52 goals in 72 international appearances… FROM MIDFIELD! It wouldn’t have been the same if they’d called him by his real name, Arthur. Gooooooooooooal Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiico.

Zico

Legend: Brazil's Zico leaps for joy after scoring against Scotland in the 1982 World Cup

Main man: Zico ran the show from midfield, scoring 52 goals in just 72 internationals for Brazil

LEE CLAYTON: My PE teacher at school – the brilliant and inspiring Phil Rider –
was nicknamed after him (well, he nicknamed himself!). He’d sign the
team sheet ‘Zico’ and seeing as I was usually sub, I was closest to the
‘sign-off’. It was the closest I got to being near Zico. That midfield
of Zico, Socrates and Falcao in 1982 was something magnificent. Roberto
Carlos is another sensation. He redefined playing at left back. I
interviewed Pele once and he was funny, charming and classy. And of the
modern team I like David Luiz. Can I keep going Sorry, I was only meant
to say one: so it’s Zico.

MATT BARLOW: Star of the first Brazilian team to come into my orbit and the
very essence of what Brazilian football seemed to be about: making
passes with the outside of the boot, bending the ball and scoring
sensational free-kicks with a No.10 on his back. That said, my abiding
memory of him is the penalty miss against France in Mexico 86.

PELE

MATT LAWLESS: His four goals at the tail end of 2009-10 season helped West Ham survive in the Premier League but no, Ilan is NOT my all-time favourite Brazilian. That honour goes to the unrivalled legend, Pele. Sadly, I never saw him play in the flesh yet his overhead kick goal in Escape to Victory will live long in my memory. Absolutely Brazil-liant!

JOHN EDWARDS: Ronaldinho, at his peak, was virtually unstoppable, but, overall, it has
to be Pele. Brazil circa 1970 boasted the greatest array of attacking
talent ever assembled, yet they all looked up to him. He was player of
the tournament in that year’s World Cup in Mexico, and he launched an
unsurpassable display of Brazilian brilliance with the opening goal in a
4-1 final win over Italy. As well as being the youngest player to
appear in a World Cup final, when he scored twice in a 5-2 win over
hosts Sweden in 1958 aged 17, he is the only holder of three World Cup
winner’s medals. Immense in every way.

STEVE CURRY: Pele stands out for me as a complete footballer who combined all the
natural gifts that have become associated with Brazilian footballers,
skill, grace, pace, freedom of expression and the ability to score great
goals. He was a wonderful player to watch live with his lithe movement –
a true match winner.

ROMARIO

MIKE ANSTEAD: Now this guy could finish. Toe pokes, curlers, dinks – Romario could do it all. And the ball usually ended up in the back of the net.

At the 1994 World Cup, he was unstoppable. Ronaldo, then a relatively-unknown 17-year-old with a goofy smile, was stuck on the bench watching the master in action as Brazil won the tournament for the first time since 1970.

Ronaldo would eventually take his crown as Brazil’s and Barcelona’s goal king. But Romario motored on, going on to score over 1,000 goals by the end of his career.

CAFU

LUKE BENEDICT: Not because he is the most capped Brazilian of all time, or because he played such a significant role in putting two of the five stars on the iconic shirt, but simply because of the way he controlled a football. With a single shoelace he could stop a spinning bullet and land it on a 5p coin. It was mesmeric.

SAMI MOKBEL: Pioneer of the modern day right-back. As good in the attacking
third as he was in his own box. Changed the conception of what was
needed to be a top-level full-back. Brilliant player.

Marauding: Cafu is the most capped Brazilian of all time and appeared in three World Cup finals, winning two

Marauding: Cafu is the most capped Brazilian of all time and appeared in three World Cup finals, winning two

RONALDO

PHIL GRADWELL: The original Ronaldo. The Nineties version was one of the best strikers of all time, combining frightening speed with a superb touch, immense power and the ability to score from all angles. This was best exemplified by his goal for Barcelona v Compostela in 1996, where he ran 60 yards, beat half the opposition and scored. The scorer of the most World Cup goals (15), even when his weight started becoming an issue he could still produce performances like the one for Real Madrid at Old Trafford in 2003. There’s only one Ronaldo…

ALEX HORLOCK: The first player who I was truly enamoured by as a child was a young striker who led the line for Barcelona back in 1996. Ronaldo was a colossus up front for a number of other clubs – and, of course, his country – but as an eight-year-old boy I was fascinated by the unstoppable striker who terrorised defences time and again. He was strong, quick, immensely skilful, a clinical finisher and his legs were the size of tree trunks. What more could you want

ROBERTO CARLOS

ADAM SHERGOLD: Everyone remembers the first time they saw that brilliant flash of Brazilian yellow – whether in person or on their TV screens. For me, it was that physics-defying free-kick of the millennium by Roberto Carlos against France at Le Tournoi in 1997.

Surely it was impossible to generate such a shot of such bend and strength to locate the net like a laser-guided missile – but Carlos managed it. He was also a player who redefined his role on the pitch – talk about defenders as frustrated strikers!

RIK SHARMA: Not as technically talented as some of the greatest Samba stars, but so unequivocally Brazilian in his willingness to attack. The former Real Madrid star was renowned for his thunderbolt shooting which, as well as worrying goalkeepers in real life, terrified my brother during countless football videogame sessions.

KAKA

ANDREW MAGEE: Fewer tricks and flicks than your typical Brazilian but still immaculate on the ball. His destruction of Man Utd in the Champions League semi final in 2007 sticks out, a potent combination of lethal finishing and graceful playmaking. He doesn’t run, he glides. Don’t believe me See his wonderful solo goal against Argentina where he even outpaces the great Lionel Messi.

NEYMAR

BRIAN LEE: It feels wrong going for any player other than Ronaldo but for me it’s Neymar. With his ridiculous hair and socks pulled up far too high it should be easy to dislike him but I’ve watched him live and have never seen quicker feet. There’s one goal on YouTube (against Flamengo and winner of the Puskas Award for 2011) that has everything. Pace, powerful running and a brilliant one-two. I’ve played it, slowed down, again and again and I’m still as confused as the defender he waltzed past before finishing.

JOSE LEANDRO FERREIRA

IAN LADYMAN: The team that Brazil took to the 1982 World Cup in Spain was the first that I really remember. I was 12 at the time and was captivated by the way they played the game. I was a right-back for my school team at the time – we won ONCE in five years – and decided I would model myself on the defender they called Leandro. Full of attacking intent, he spent more time in the opposition half than he did in his own and at times seemed to simply play as a second right winger. My PE teacher didn’t appreciate it when I tried to do the same. Leandro only played for one team – Flamengo – in a 12-year domestic career. I also only played for one team. For different reasons.

JUNINHO

COLIN YOUNG: Having watched him transform a small town and club and establish himself as Middlesbrough’s greatest ever player I’m going to say Juninho. He was quite simply a genius and absolute joy to watch.

JOSIMAR

DOMINIC KING: The 1986 World Cup is the first major tournament I really remember vividly. Mexico may have ended up belonging to Diego Maradona but, before the World Cup began, my Dad told me to make sure I watched Brazil when I could. The first game was against Northern Ireland and Josimar, making his debut at right-back, scored with an outrageous strike against Northern Ireland. He was the first Brazilian to grab my attention, so gets the vote.

Ronaldinho to make film with Blackburn owners Venky"s

Venky's always said they'd get Ronaldinho… and now they've finally signed him up! (Sorry Blackburn fans, it's just for a movie)

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 28 December 2012

Blackburn Rovers owners Venky's persuaded Ronaldinho to put pen to, er, ball when he arrived in India to promote his new film.

The Brazilian World Cup winner has signed up with their film arm to make Ronaldinho versus Aliens, an animation inspired by Space Jam, which starred Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny.

The identity of the cartoon superstar to work with Ronaldinho is still a secret but if Venky’s, who are also poultry packers, haven’t signed up Rocky from Chicken Run, they’re missing a trick.

Ronaldinho was one of Venky's most ambitious transfer targets when they took over at Ewood Park in 2010, and now they've finally got their man. It's a shame for Rovers fans that he won't be playing any football, however.

This had better not be a Blackburn contract... Ronaldinho (second left) pens an autograph on Friday

This had better not be a Blackburn contract… Ronaldinho (second left) pens an autograph on Friday

Meanwhile, the appointment of Blackburn's new coaching team is on hold as a simmering boardroom battle at Ewood Park threatens to escalate into all-out civil war.

The club's global advisor Shebby Singh and managing director Derek Shaw have been at odds since Singh's arrival in the summer, and Shaw has flown to India to urge the club's owners Venky's to ditch the flamboyant Malaysian following this week's sacking of manager Henning Berg.

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Singh is said to be unperturbed by events but the plan to install Kevin MacDonald as head coach alongside Judan Ali cannot proceed without Shaw approving the contracts.

Ali was at the club's Brockhall training ground on Friday and MacDonald expects to join him even though he is understood to have reservations about the arrangement.

Ali, who is set to become English football's first British Asian coach, is better known for his role in a Bollywood movie.

Jose Mourinho tells Rafael Benitez "mind your own business"

Mourinho tells Benitez 'mind your own business' after Real comments

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UPDATED:

00:08 GMT, 22 December 2012

Jose Mourinho has told Rafael Benitez to keep his mind on managing Chelsea instead of passing comment on Real Madrid.

Mourinho was reacting to a radio interview Benitez carried out in midweek with Spanish station Onda Cero.

During the interview, Benitez was told that Real Madrid were interested in employing him when his contract runs out at Chelsea.

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

Under pressure: Mourinho at Real's game against Espanyol last weekend

He replied: ‘I know things, but I am not going to say anything about Real Madrid because I don’t think I should.’

Benitez’s evasive answer suggested rumours that Real are lining him up to come in at the end of the season have strong foundation.

Mourinho said: ‘As a Chelsea fan, all I can say is that I hope he was not thinking about Real Madrid during the Corinthians game.’

Benitez oversaw Chelsea’s defeat by the Brazilian side in the Club World Cup last Sunday, missing out on the honour he picked up at Inter Milan after Mourinho had won the Champions League with the Italian club.

Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season and could even end up back at Chelsea, while Benitez is among the Spanish club’s options.

Asked about drawing Manchester United in the next round of the Champions League, Mourinho said it was too far away to comment on the game.

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

Old rivals: Benitez and Mourinho in 2007

But he did lament the current form of his team as they go into their last game of the year having already dropped more points this season than in the whole of last.

He said: ‘We have to improve in all aspects of the play. We are not happy with our numbers from these first months of the season.’

The match against Malaga on Saturday is Mourinho’s 400th league game in top flight football and he questioned whether his players shared his motivation to go on winning.

He said: ‘I did not realise about reaching 400 games until I was told but I know that I have lost less than 40 games. That is less than 10 per cent defeats.

‘I have never been found wanting in terms of motivation. The players have to find that motivation and improve.’

He all but ruled out the possibility of Real facing Manchester United in February boosted by new January transfer window signings.

He said: ‘I think the winter market is not something that works for Madrid. I don’t think anyone will be coming in or going out.’

Graham Chadwick"s video blog: Chelsea"s Club World Cup adventure ends in failure

Graham Chadwick's video blog: Chelsea's Club World Cup adventure ends in failure

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UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 17 December 2012

Sportsmail
photographer Graham Chadwick has travelled to Japan with Chelsea as they
take part in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Watch Graham's latest video blog of the Blues in Yokohama.

Chelsea's Japanese adventure ended with disappointment on Sunday morning as they were beaten to Club World Cup glory by Brazilian side Corinthians.

As he has been for every step of the trip so far, our man was pitchside as Rafael Benitez's team were undone by Paulo Guerrero's header, and then when Gary Cahill was sent off.

Watch the video…

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Lucas Piazon blasts Chelsea teammates after Club World Cup disappointment

You're not bothered like us Brazilians! Piazon blasts Chelsea teammates as Cahill's out of Leeds clash after red card

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 16 December 2012

Chelsea teenager Lucas Piazon today launched a scathing attack on his team-mates for their ‘unacceptable’ lack of effort during the defeat by Corinthians.

The 18-year-old forward, voted the club’s young player of the year in May, said only his Brazilian compatriots demonstrated any will to win the Club World Cup.

Piazon, an unused substitute in Japan, was reported on Brazilian website UOL Esporte as saying: ‘We didn’t have desire to be champions. I think only David Luiz and Ramires, the Brazilians, showed willpower. That’s why they’re sad.

Scathing attack: Lucas Piazon blasted his Chelsea teammates for their 'unacceptable' lack of effort in the Club World Cup final with Corinthians

Scathing attack: Lucas Piazon blasted his Chelsea teammates for their 'unacceptable' lack of effort in the Club World Cup final with Corinthians

Smiling no more: The Brazilian (left), pictured arriving in Japan with compatriot Ramires, didn't get off the bench in the tournament

Smiling no more: The Brazilian (left), pictured arriving in Japan with compatriot Ramires, didn't get off the bench in the tournament

‘The team went to the pitch with no desire. It’s unacceptable. I noticed David was sad. He was one of the few players that showed something in the game.’

Both Ramires and Luiz, who was named as second best player of the tournament, were in tears after the game as the Brazilian side became the first South American team to win the Club World Cup for six years.

Benched: Piazon (second left) could only watch as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the South American champions Corinthians

Benched: Piazon (second left) could only watch as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the South American champions Corinthians

Piazon, the inspiration behind Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup win last season, has started both of the club’s Capital One Cup matches this season but it remains to be seen if he will feature in Wednesday’s quarter-final against Leeds — little more than 24 hours after the squad return to England.

Ruled out of the Leeds game is defender Gary Cahill, who was seething at the play-acting of Qatari-Brazilian Emerson, which led to the England defender being sent off in the 90th minute yesterday.

‘I am angry,’ said Cahill. ‘I’m disappointed in myself for my reaction but also because it’s OK for someone to lash out at you, but you do something back and it’s deemed a red card.

You're off: Gary Cahill (foreground) was sent off late in Chelsea's loss for kicking out at Corinthians' Emerson

You're off: Gary Cahill (foreground) was sent off late in Chelsea's loss for kicking out at Corinthians' Emerson

‘I tackled him, we tangled up and he lashed out with his arm and hit me in the face. I thought that was out of order but I reacted in a bad way. Looking back there are two different stories.

‘Someone’s smashed me in the face but I didn’t roll around on the floor for five minutes holding my head. I got up, reacted and tapped him in the shin. He felt the need to go down, roll around on the floor for about five times holding his face.

‘I suppose that’s the story of the game really. In the context of the game it was disappointing.

Overreaction: 'It wouldn't have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter' says Cahill (left) of the kick that got him sent off

Overreaction: 'It wouldn't have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter' says Cahill (left) of the kick that got him sent off

‘It was late on. It wasn’t as if it was in the 60th minute. I could have got him sent off if I’d rolled around for five minutes after he hit me. It probably is a red card but the reaction of the guy is totally out of order for what I did if you see the impact.

‘It wouldn’t have been enough to knock over my one-year-old daughter. I’m still angry.’

Cahill will automatically miss one game — against Leeds — and FIFA’s disciplinary department will decide this week whether it will be extended to more.

‘I have a heavy heart,’ added Luiz, a Corinthians fan as a boy, after the defeat. ‘I cried. I wanted to win. I dreamed one day of playing in the Club World Cup final. I say congratulations to Corinthians but I cannot be happy.

‘You can cry one night. Tomorrow is another day. Life continues. I say thanks to God for my life always, in good and bad moments.’

Luiz produced another excellent performance in central defence and added: ‘Three months ago, two months ago, other people spoke bad about David Luiz and tried to kill me but I have confidence in my life.

‘I think I played well. I just try to help Chelsea. I came to Chelsea two years ago and many people didn’t know who David Luiz was. In the first month, second month, I did a great job and won some titles. Some people like you, some don’t.

‘What I want to do is put my head in the pillow and say I worked hard, did my best and I can sleep.’

Frank Lampard returned to the side as captain and insisted nobody had underestimated the competition.

Defeated: David Luiz (foreground) looks on as he watches his boyhood club Corinthians celebrate winning the Club World Cup

Defeated: David Luiz (foreground) looks on as he watches his boyhood club Corinthians celebrate winning the Club World Cup

‘We’re disappointed,’ said Lampard. ‘It was certainly a meaningful competition.

‘There was a great crowd for the final. The Chelsea fans have followed us well and as a club we wanted to win it.

‘It was always going to be a tough game. They’re a physical team as well as one with ability.

Once you give Brazilian teams a goal they’re adept at sitting back and counter-attacking. It was difficult to break them down. We didn’t play at our best.’

David Luiz in midfield is masterstroke by Rafa Benitez – Martin Samuel

Benitez moves up in the world! Blues reach final after Rafa pulls off Luiz masterstroke

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 13 December 2012

FINAL COUNTDOWN

Chelsea will now play Brazilian team Corinthians in Sunday's final. You can follow all the build up and action with Mail Online.

Chelsea
stand one game from being crowned world champions but if further proof
were needed that FIFA's Club World Cup remains a dysfunctional
tournament, here it was.

A
semi-final mismatch, played in front of a half-empty stadium with an
atmosphere so quiet it was possible to hear Petr Cech's instructions to
his defenders, is no recommendation for a competition that remains sadly
unloved, despite its best intentions.

Scroll down for video

Japaneasy: Chelsea cruised to a Club World Cup victory over Mexican side Monterrey in Yokohama

Japaneasy: Chelsea cruised to a Club World Cup victory over Mexican side Monterrey in Yokohama

Japaneasy: Chelsea cruised to a Club World Cup victory over Mexican side Monterrey in Yokohama

Japaneasy: Chelsea cruised to a Club World Cup victory over Mexican side Monterrey in Yokohama

MATCH FACTS

MONTERREY: OrOrozco, Perez (Osorio 58), Mier, Basanta, Chavez, Meza (Solis 83), Ayovi, Cardozo, Corona, Delgado (Carreno 83), De Nigris.

Goals: De Nigris 90+2.

CHELSEA: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole, Mikel, Luiz (Lampard 63), Mata (Ferreira 74), Oscar, Hazard, Torres (Moses 79).

Goals: Mata 17, Torres 46, Chavez OG 48.

Attendance: 36,648

Referee: Carlos Vera (Ecuador)

Apart from one shock in 2010 when an
African team, Mazembe, made the final at the expense of Internacional of
Brazil, this is basically the old Intercontinental Cup with a new
ballgown.

We know the only tie that really
aspires to excellence is the meeting of the champions of Europe and
South America, but the competition goes through the tortuous process of
eliminating the rest of the world first, and then makes the also-rans
play off for the dubious privilege of finishing third to eighth.
Thrilling.

Even so, from the perspective of
Chelsea and their manager Rafael Benitez, this is FIFA's problem to
resolve. They can only beat what is in front of them and on Thursday
that was Monterrey, champions of CONCACAF but currently 10th in Mexico's
first division.

Number Juan: Chelsea took the lead on 17 minutes through Juan Mata's low drive

Number Juan: Chelsea took the lead on 17 minutes through Juan Mata's low drive

Number Juan: Chelsea took the lead on 17 minutes through Juan Mata's low drive

Thinking of you: Mata paid tribute to countryman Oriol Romeu, who was ruled out for the season recently

Thinking of you: Mata paid tribute to countryman Oriol Romeu, who was ruled out for the season recently

'YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE'

Despite
them being fewer than 1,000 in number at the Yokohama International
Stadium, Chelsea fans could still be heard taunting interim boss Rafael
Benitez with cries for former boss Roberto Di Matteo.

Predictably, Chelsea were a
different class. Faster, stronger, more astute, the scoreline does not
reflect the reality of the contest because they had eased into training
mode long before the final whistle and Monterrey's goal came in
second-half added time.

The stickler in Benitez still
disapproved but he will have been happy with the ease of Chelsea's
progression, having fretted over jet-lag and a lack of preparation
earlier in the week. It transpired only cursory regard for the Mexicans
was required.

Rough and tumble: Chelsea were made to work harder than expected by their Mexican counterparts

Rough and tumble: Chelsea were made to work harder than expected by their Mexican counterparts

Rough and tumble: Chelsea were made to work harder than expected by their Mexican counterparts

Rough and tumble: Chelsea were made to work harder than expected by their Mexican counterparts

Benitez made one change to accommodate Monterrey's strength at playing between the lines and it won the game.

David Luiz, in a midfield role, was a
revelation. The knot of travelling Chelsea fans still expressed their
contempt for their interim manager but neutrals are increasingly
impressed.

Without doubt, Chelsea's defence is
tighter, undeniably, Fernando Torres is scoring again and Benitez's
deployment of Luiz was a masterstroke.

Considering the amount of argument,
tactical and technical, that swirls around elite football clubs, to come
up with an original plan that, once seen, looks so obvious, is no mean
feat.

Plenty have said Luiz could be a
defensive midfielder, but Benitez took that simple strategy a stage
further. He made him a defensive midfield player who attacks.

Luiz, as a central defender, is
unreliable, everyone knows that. He wants to get forward. So move him
forward, and play him in front of the back four. Yes, but it's not as
easy as that.

Deserting the defensive midfield
position is as fatal in modern football as going for a wander at centre
half. Benitez stopped playing Steven Gerrard centrally for precisely
this reason.

If Luiz was holding and went
walkabout, opponents would be straight into Chelsea's defensive line.
What to do Benitez resolved that issue with a tactical nuance. He left
John Mikel Obi as the prime holding player and gave Luiz limited freedom
to roam and create when Chelsea were in possession.

Star man: Luiz was a revelation at the heart of Chelsea's midfield

Star man: Luiz was a revelation at the heart of Chelsea's midfield

Defending, he bolstered his side's
presence and his quickness, of foot and thought, was a tremendous
positive. Yet when Monterrey's moves broke down, Luiz came into his
own, supporting the attack and playing the best passes of the game, two
of which should have ended in goals.

He may have to rein in a little
against superior opponents – like Corinthians – but this performance
felt like a lightbulb sparking over those impressive curls. This was
Luiz's perfect role. It was no coincidence that when he left the field after 63 minutes he was replaced by Frank Lampard.

Bought to their knees: Fernando Torres' bright start to the second half finished off Monterrey's challenge

Bought to their knees: Fernando Torres' bright start to the second half finished off Monterrey's challenge

Bought to their knees: Fernando Torres' bright start to the second half finished off Monterrey's challenge

Benitez may have found a radical and realistic solution to the Lampard succession conundrum. It was an option, he admitted.

'I know David from Benfica, where he
was playing centre back, left back, right back, midfield, in many
positions,' Benitez said.

'I knew they were quick and intricate
in that area between the lines, with players coming in from the left,
so I wanted to put someone in there who could stop them.

'David is quick, can regain the ball a
lot and, at the same time, play passes to our players. We needed energy
in there, and David is a good passer with good energy. He did well.'

Darvin Chavez

Job done: Chelsea wrapped up victory when Darvin Chavez diverted the ball into his own goal

Job done: Chelsea wrapped up victory when Darvin Chavez diverted the ball into his own goal

It took Luiz four minutes to turn up
on the edge of Monterrey's area and have a shot, and two more to play
arguably the finest pass of the game to give Eden Hazard a chance one on
one, which he squandered.

Luiz also hit a great ball to Torres
shortly before half-time but by then Chelsea were a goal up and in
charge, and his failure to make the most of it was not greeted with the
usual anguish.

The English side's opener came from a
quite exquisite move, involving a backheel by Hazard that put in Ashley
Cole, who squared for Juan Mata to finish.

Time to smile: Rafael Benitez was relaxed on the touchline as his team earned their place in the final

Time to smile: Rafael Benitez was relaxed on the touchline as his team earned their place in the final

From there, Monterrey were as good as done. The three minutes after half-time ended the game as a contest.

Just 17 seconds after the restart,
Chelsea went further ahead. Hazard broke down the left flank and found
Torres, whose shot was deflected past goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco.

Little more than two minutes later a
superb Torres cross picked out Mata, who cut the ball back only for
central defender Darvin Chavez to bundle it into his own net.

Chavez said before the game that he
hoped Premier League scouts would be watching; after that debacle he
must have been thankful the game went live only on the BBC HD channel.

... and most of the local support got behind him, though those from London cheered for Di Matteo

… and most of the local support got behind him, though those from London cheered for Di Matteo

... and most of the local support got behind him, though those from London cheered for Di Matteo

Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich, who
had predicted, rightly, that Chelsea would score, knew the size of his
task. Monterrey played in Blackpool's colours, but there the resemblance
ended. Blackpool would have given Chelsea more of a game.

'We had to play a perfect match to win today,' Vucetich said. 'We knew Chelsea were much stronger.'

Even so, Monterrey scored, in injury
time after Cole appeared to knock off for a late supper and Aldo de
Nigris travelled down the right unchallenged before finishing smartly
across Cech.

Those that know Benitez say as much
time will be spent revisiting that little lapse as glorying in the
performance that preceded it. He knows from bitter experience that one
chance, against the run of play, can decide this tournament – as it did
for Sao Paulo against Liverpool in 2005 – and if he wants to parlay his
interim appointment into a permanent one, the first stage is to
demonstrate he is a manager who wins the big matches.

'When I talk about a winning mentality, always it is the little details that make the difference,' he said.

'It's not easy with a new manager,
six days and two games, but now the team knows what we want to do. They
have more confidence and are enjoying their football.

'They have to think about winning in style and they have to keep their concentration for 90 minutes.'

If it was as easy as that, of course,
Chelsea would not be on their fourth manager in two and a half seasons.
Then again, if they could play Monterrey every week, Claudio Ranieri
would still be in the job.

VIDEO: Watch Graham Chadwick's latest video blog of the Blues in Yokohama…

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VIDEO: Rafa is pleased with the team's performance…

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John Terry and Didier Drogba train at Cobham as Chelsea play out in Japan

Meanwhile… in Cobham: Terry posts pictures of lonely training with old pal Drogba as Chelsea go for glory in Japan

|

UPDATED:

09:37 GMT, 13 December 2012

As most of Chelsea's players explored the delights of Japan ahead of their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey on Thursday, life continued as normal for two familiar faces.

Back at the club's training ground in Cobham, captain John Terry continued his recuperation from a knee ligament injury alongside former club favourite Didier Drogba, who is back training with the club.

Terry posted an Instagram picture of himself on an exercise bike in a deserted gym as he tries to get back to full fitness to help with Chelsea's hectic schedule.

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

He also took a cosy snap of himself with Drogba, who left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and who is back keeping his fitness levels up before representing Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

Terry is 6,000 miles away from the rest of his teammates, who are in Japan trying to cap their European Cup-winning year with more silverware.

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

The 31-year-old defender damaged knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in November and is expected to be out for over a month.

In order to combat jetlag, manager Rafa Benitez took his players to a Yokohama bowling alley but admitted they were struggling to adapt their sleep patterns to the time difference.

They face Mexican side Monterrey in Thursday morning, hoping to advance to a final with Brazilian team Corinthians this Sunday.

Meanwhile... In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Meanwhile… In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Sao Paulo win Copa Sudamericana after "security guards attack Tigre players"

Brazil nuts! Copa Sudamericana ends in chaos as final is abandoned after 'security guards pull guns and beat up players'

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UPDATED:

09:54 GMT, 13 December 2012

The image of Brazilian football in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup was seriously tarnished when the final of the Copa Sudamericana was abandoned as visiting club Tigre accused security officials of pulling guns on them and beating the players.

After a goalless first leg in Argentina, Sao Paulo took a 2-0 lead on home turf with goals from Lucas Moura and Osvaldo.

But things took a sour turn at half-time as fighting broke out between the players as they made their way off the pitch.

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

All over: The referee abandoned the match between Tigre and Sao Paulo

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Scrap: Sao Paulo (in white) and Tigre ended up fighting before the referee called time on the clash

Tigre then refused to return for the second half, claiming their players had been attacked by security guards in the dressing rooms.

Chilean referee Enrique Osses abandoned the match after a 30-minute delay, awarding the victory to Sao Paulo, who were then presented with the trophy in a formal ceremony.

Tigre coach Nestor Gorosito claimed armed security officers had beaten his players and pointed guns at them during half-time. He said goalkeeper Damian Albil had a gun pointed at his chest.

'During the break, a big guy came in
with a gun,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Some policeman started to hit some
of my players. We tried to defend ourselves. They pulled two revolvers.
We’re not going to play anymore.

'My players fought with the security
people for 15 minutes. Then the police arrived and the incidents
continued. What happened is disgraceful. There are several players hurt, but none serious.'

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Crossbar challenge: Fans managed to get on to the pitch after Sao Paulo won the Copa Sudamericana

Gorosito also complained about the treatment his team had received throughout their preparations for the match.

'We
trained two hours away from our hotel, and it took us more than an hour
to get to the stadium,' he said. 'We were unable to warm up on the
pitch.'

Tigre president Sergio Massa said
Wednesday was one of the most shameful days in Brazilian football
history and urged the Argentinian Football Federation (AFA) to take
strong action.

Massa told the AFA official website: 'We need to show the people everything that happened, the assaults and injuries.

'When we went into the dressing room after the first half, there were 15 security people that were hitting the players. They struck us.

'For Tigre today was an historic day. The referee told us he was going to suspend the game and ended up doing that. It was all a mess, football should be a celebration.'

Tigre security chief Ruben Pasquini said in La Nacion newspaper: 'It was an ambush. They were waiting for us. (Midfielder Ruben) Botta has an injured eye. They put a gun in the chest of Albil. (Midfielder) Gaston Diaz was also hurt.'

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

Solid back four: Police stand outside the dressing rooms after the Copa Sudamericana final was abandoned

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

You're not coming on: Security guards line the pitch as the officials make their way off

Referee Osses said: 'We did not see anything, but we have heard some things about what happened.

'We saw there were some injuries to the Tigre players but I don't know what caused them.'

CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna said: 'The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on.

'This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion.'

The city of Sao Paulo is one of the
host venues for the 2014 World Cup, although matches will be played at
Corinthians' Arena de Sao Paulo and not the Morumbi.

Massa felt the incidents had cast a shadow over Brazilian football.

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

Explosive: Sao Paulo supporters celebrated as fireworks lit up the sky

'It's one of the most shameful pages in Brazilian football. We came to play a game of football, not a war,' he said. 'All this makes us very sad.

'We don't want to win or lose a game in the offices but the AFA are going to have to make a strong protest.'

Sao Paulo had dominated the first half with Lucas, playing his final match before joining Paris St Germain, at the heart of everything.

He scored the opener in the 23rd minute, pouncing on the ball to fire home after Willian Jose's progress towards goal had been blocked.

Lucas turned provider for the second, playing a fine ball for Osvaldo to run through and lift the ball over Damian Albil.

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

Cop that: Police officers patrol the pitch after Tigre players refused to be play on and the match was called off

However, Lucas had also been on the receiving end of several tough challenges, with one elbow to the face drawing blood.

Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, who had handed Lucas the captain's armband at the end to allow the departing star to lift the trophy, was shocked by the way the match ended, but claimed the Tigre players had been overly aggressive on the pitch.

'We don't know what happened, but the Tigre players came to Brazil to fight, not to play,' he said. 'I really don't know what happened in the dressing rooms.'

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph

Capture the moment: The Sao Paulo players pose for pictures after their controversial triumph

Caroline Wozniacki pokes fun at Serena Williams

Oh, I say! Serena is the butt of Wozniacki's joke during exhibition match in Brazil

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 8 December 2012

Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki uses some extra padding on Saturday as she has a little fun at Serena Williams' expense during an exhibition match in Brazil.

The 22-year-old Dane was beaten 6-2, 7-6 by Maria Sharapova but enjoyed plenty of banter with the crowd including boyfriend Rory McIlroy.

Butt no, butt yeah, butt no: Caroline Wozniacki impersonates Serena Williams

Butt no, butt yeah, butt no: Caroline Wozniacki impersonates Serena Williams

Wozniacki said: 'I really love the crowd here, they're open and they have a lot of fun.'

The joke was not lost on Williams, also in Sao Paulo to promote the 2016 Games.

She tweeted: 'Do they make Brazilian bikinis for, um, well, me'.

Bikini babe: Serena Williams took ribbing in good humour

Bikini babe: Serena Williams took ribbing in good humour

Spurs set to miss out on Fernandinho as Brazilian eyes Manchester move

Spurs set to miss out on Fernandinho as Brazilian eyes Manchester move

|

UPDATED:

22:49 GMT, 6 December 2012

Tottenham target Fernandinho has claimed he is ready to move to Manchester next month.

The 27-year-old Brazil international, who has impressed during Shakhtar Donetsk's Champions League campaign, said: 'I am closing a deal with an English club. I will play in Manchester in January.'

Shakhtar Donetsk's Fernandinho, left,

England bound Shakhtar Donetsk's Fernandinho, left,

However, City are unlikely to recruit in January while United are weighing up other targets.