Russia 2018: missing the World Cup
Malika Favre, ‘Football. Sport et Style – Fields’ – IG @malikafavre
Text Domenico Paris
If you think that Gigi Buffon’s tears contain all the pain that a champion can feel when missing the most important football championship, perhaps you have never heard about Heleno De Freitas. In fact, in 1950, the whole Brazilian people are awaiting with trepidation the first World Championship to be played at home. The Green and Yellow, of course, is the favourite team. And its striker, Heleno De Freitas, exactly is its cutting edge. More handsome than Clark Gable, with aristocratic manners and a steamroller in night clubs, De Freitas, in the goal area, is a veritable sniper. With an average of goals exceeding one goal per match (19 over 18 appearances), he’s getting ready to shock the other national teams’ defences, to finally get the Rimet Trophy to Christ the Redeemer.
There’s only one problem: he drinks a lot and he has contracted (and not yet discovered) syphilis after the umpteenth sexual intercourse and he is now out of control. Moreover, his unrestrained love for the great Dostoevskij does not help, he has been devouring his novels since he was a teenager. One day, during his training, he bandies words with a mate. In the locker room, coach Costa reproaches him, as it is normal. But he replies by pointing a gun to his head. Heavens above! If before such an intemperance one can bend the rules, after this episode, definitive omission can only be the punishment.
Heleno is out of the list of the members and his team-mate Ademir is the striker. On the pitch he is a thunder, he leads his team until the crucial match in Rio. Where something incredible happens: the Uruguayans beat the hosts, inflicting unforgettable suffering to a whole nation.
Helenos’ career continues with no outstanding performances for some more years, until when his failing health requires enforced committal due to insanity.
He dies in 1959, only one year after the first World victory of Brazil against Sweden, led by the magic of a young kid named Pelé.
Honour and glory to him.
And just a long, gloomy oblivion for Heleno.