Brazil appoints a new coach after firing Fernando Genius. The official announcement has not yet come from the Brazilian Football Federation, but the Brazilian media confirm that the 61-year-old Darival Junior is the next coach of Brazil. In the meantime, Darival has resigned from his previous job, i.e. the post of coach of Sao Paulo.
There is a lot of discussion about what kind of coach Darival is, whether he will solve the ongoing crisis surrounding the Brazilian national team, how Brazilian football will be. However, one discussion in between can make Brazilian fans a little uncomfortable. Darival Jr.’s old feud with Brazil’s ‘posterboy’ Neymar has been in the news ever since the news of Darival’s appointment.
As a defensive midfielder, Darival Jr. could not make a name for himself even though he played for a club in Brazil in the eighties and nineties, but as a coach, he has a reputation in Brazilian football. Made quite a name for himself in coaching before and after beating prostate cancer in 2019 – winning trophies as well as his style of play and more importantly his ability to rescue teams in crisis. Brazil is now in crisis!
Be that as it may, one of Derival’s biggest challenges in the Brazilian dugout will be to mend the relationship with Neymar, to get Neymar back into rhythm. In the meantime, however, the Brazilian media Globoesporte reported that Darival identified ‘talking to Neymar’ as one of the first tasks after taking charge.
What is his trouble with Neymar? In a word, in 2010, Darival lost his job as a coach at Santos because of Neymar.
Darival was playing great football in Santos at that time with players like Neymar and Ganso. Success was coming. Santos won the Copa do Brazil, in total 61 matches under him, Santos won 37, drew 8. Despite such success, he had to be dismissed after a few days of trouble. But in a way Darival did the right thing.
What did you do? Marcel was responsible for taking Santos’ penalty. But after being awarded a penalty in the league match against Atlético Goianense, Neymar insisted – he will take the penalty. But before this, Neymar failed in the penalty three times in the season. So Darival’s orders came from the bench, before team discipline, Marcel would take the penalty.
Marcel took the penalty. He also scored a goal. But that didn’t stop young Neymar’s anger at that time. He expressed his anger in body language on the field, looked at Darival and did some ‘honey rain’. It is alleged that after the match, Neymar did not play like that. Even the coach of opponents Atlético Goianense, René Simois, a respected coach in Brazilian football at the time, said in a post-match press conference that day, ‘I’ve managed a lot of young players, but I’ve never seen anything like what this boy did. Someone better teach this boy a lesson or we’ll see a monster in the making!’
Darival tried to teach the lesson. After the match, Darival informed Neymar that he had decided to punish him. The punishment is that Neymar will be banned for two matches, will train alone during the ban, and will have one-third of his salary deducted for that month. Neymar, however, accepted the punishment. Darival said in a 2020 interview with Brazilian media UOL Esporte that Neymar realized his mistake and apologized. He then said to Neymar, ‘However, I will punish you. I’m not punishing because I’m having fun, I’m punishing because you need to be punished.’
But the board of Santos stood in the way. One of Neymar’s two-game ban was against arch-rivals Corinthians. The Santos board insisted on Darival to play Neymar in that match. In the eyes of that board, a small fine for Neymar would have been enough. But Darival did not obey. In his eyes, it was necessary to convince Neymar of the punishment to maintain team discipline and for Neymar’s future. Fed up with Darival’s attitude, the board eventually sacked Darival, Neymar played in the match against Corinthians.