Ronaldo’s medal nothing to get over-excited about

May 4, 2009

Ronaldo was not surprisingly delighted to lay hands on a winner’s medal so soon after returning from last year’s knee injury but even he probably knows deep down that it is not that much to get excited about.

Ronaldo’s performances for Corinthians have already started talk of a Brazil recall — he has not played for his country since the 2006 World Cup — and national team coach Dunga was in the crowd when Corinthians held Santos 1-1 to win the Paulista championship on Sunday.

But what exactly is the Paulista championship? The format of the Brazilian season often baffles outsiders and maybe this is a chance to put it into context.

For the last few years, the country has run a conventional league — usually known simply enough as the Brasileirao (literally the Big Brazilian) featuring 20 teams who play each other home and away in the conventional style.

It is preceded, however, by the regional championships, one for each of Brazils 27 states. These tournaments are based on politics rather than any footballing logic.

They have been around since early 1900s when a national championship was inviable but have survived the advent of air travel and all attempts to remove them.

Each state has its own federation who in turn choose the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF). Therefore, abolishing these tournaments would be electoral suicide for Ricardo Teixeiro, who has held the post since 1989.

Taking the Paulista as an example, only six of the 20 teams — Corinthians, Santos, Palmeiras, Sao Paulo, Santo Andre and Barueri — play in the Brazilian first division. The rest are from the second and third divisions and some are barely professional.

This means that for four months, most of Corinthians’ matches have been against lower division sides.

Given that Palmeiras and Sao Paulo have been more interested in the Libertadores Cup — South America’s equivalent of the Champions League — and that Santo Andre and Barueri are themselves small teams, Santos were probably their only real rivals for the title.

For Ronaldo, the real test starts next week with the Brazilian championship.

PHOTO: Corinthians’ Ronaldo receives a pass during their Paulista (Sao Paulo State) Championship final  match against Santos FC in Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo, May 3, 2009. REUTERS/Junior Lago


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I would bring up just one point; the “Paulista” is stronger competition than the English national championship, and the Sao Paulo estate is bigger than Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotalnd).

Posted by Ewerton Moreira | Report as abusive

Good point. These boys have skill even if they are being exported like crazy. Ronaldo is not excited because he still needs to make it to South Africa. To do that he needs to stay healthy and lead the Corinthians to the Brazilian championship

Posted by Jonathan | Report as abusive

If the fact that people want him to play for Brazil again is being ridiculed, then imagine what would happen if the rumors that Florentino Perez is to resign him for Real Madrid when he becomes the president come true.

Posted by Murali Krishnan | Report as abusive

Is not stronger than enlish premer league that is crazy to say, even if you love brasil too much that is crazy to say

Posted by Martin | Report as abusive

why is this site tryin to hate. Ronaldo is the greatest player in football history so give him a chance and stop criticising. RONALDO IS THE BEST.

Posted by abdul | Report as abusive

To play down the Paulista Championship is a mistake. It is not easy by any means. Even the so called smaller teams have good players and they ALWAYS put up a fight against the bigger teams. Given the number of professional players in Brazil and the quality of Brazilian players, just to be able to play in a State championships requires a high level of competence. And players of smaller teams know they have the chance of demonstrating their talents and furthering their careers in the championship. Sao Paulo State has the strongest league in Brazil. Ronaldo and his team deserve all the credit.

Posted by Carlos | Report as abusive

I’m happy very much to hear that ronaldo is call back on th brazil
Nationa team,because his present on the team make many goalkeeper
And defended to have great fear in a game. Ronaldo is the greatest player
In the world,after every major injury their is great progress in his soccer
May God bless Ronaldo and keep he,because of ronaldo today I can watch
The brazilian league thru goltv and see great skills in soccer.

Posted by s.boniface carlor | Report as abusive

Hi Brian,

You are quite misinformed if you think state championships from Brazil are weak in any sense ( I will also extend this to the Argentinian championship).
I have followed them for quite some time and can say that they have a very high level, and would even dare say that they are on par with National competitions from Spain and England –there is a reason that most of the best players in the world come from these places after all.
To think otherwise is naivety or bitterness.

Posted by Johan | Report as abusive

Ranoldo is a phenomenon.He will always be.

Posted by echikoz | Report as abusive

Given some of the responses to this blog, I thought it would be interesting to publish some randomly selected attendances from this year’s Paulista championship. I think they speak for themselves:

Paulista v Noroeste 2,511
Corinthians v Barueri 24,879
Mogi Mirim v Paulista 790
Sao Paulo v Ponte Preta 5,603
Sao Caetano v Barueri 749
Bragantino v Mirassol 731
Palmeiras v Noroeste 6,195
Guarani v Guaratingueta 3,422
Noroeste v Ituano 931

Posted by Brian Homewood | Report as abusive

You’re so cruel, Brian. People want to believe…

Posted by kev | Report as abusive


You mentioned that some of the teams in the Paulista are barely professional. Could you name these teams, please?
Also, since you have the list of attendance from this year’s Paulista championship. Could you post the attendance from the ‘classicos’, Example: Sao Paulo vs Corinthians, Santos vs Palmeiras, etc… I think those numbers will talk for themselves.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

Actually, the attendances to matches among “small” teams, does not mean all that much. Usually this teams are from small cities and does not have too many people that cheer for them. The biggest teams from São Paulo (Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Palmeiras and Santos) and from other states (Flamengo and Vasco for instance, which are from Rio de Janeiro) on the other hand concentrate the biggest number of fans, and consequently the biggest attendance when they play on any state they go, even when compared to local teams (for example, Corinthians has the biggest number of fans in Sao Paulo state and also in Parana state). But the fact that the “small” teams does not have as much attendance as bigger and more famous teams, it does not mean they are weak. Also, remember that there are more and more brazilian players leaving these “weak” teams to play in European tournaments, or do you think all Brazilian players that you know and see every day on European matches played for big teams in Brazil?

Posted by Chapas | Report as abusive