Note from BW of Brazil: It’s shameful that people take something that is actually quite trivial in comparison to more important things in like so seriously. Such is the case of Brazil in relation to futebol. Around the world the country is most known for its Carnaval celebrations, its women, its beaches and its masters of futebol. Over the years, the nation has become something of a factory line for top notch futebol superstars. From Leônidas da Silva to Pelé, and Ronaldo to Neymar, if you bring the Brazilian people joy from your talent on the field, you will live forever in the heart of soul of the nation. When superstar Neymar recently went down with a tournament-ending back injury, Brazilians feared the worst for their chances of winning their sixth World Cup title. Those fears were confirmed when the team suffered its worst Cup defeat in its history in a 7-1 blowout against Germany. When the humiliation finally ended, fans and critics alike voiced the opinion that that game will forever be known as one of the most shameful days in Brazilian history. It will live on as a memory that players such as Fred, Hulk, David Luiz and goalie Júlio César will forever feel ashamed of having been a part of.
In Brazil, a country that expects believes its national team has a chance to win every World Cup, this is a heavy burden to carry. The story of Moacir Barbosa Nascimento (1921-2000) is a perfect example. A talented goalie, Barbosa was blamed for Brazil’s 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay when a shot by Alcides Ghiggia sailed past Barbosa leading to Brazil’s 2-1 loss in the last World Cup held in Brazil until this year. The huge loss shocked Brazilians plunging the country into a depression over what would later become known as Maracanazo, or “the Maracana blow.” Critics later recognized the fact that Barbosa was unfairly blamed for the defeat, but he would live with the torment of that game until he died in the year 2000.
Ever since, Brazilian coaches followed an unwritten rule that barred black men from being starting goalies on Brazil’s national teams; this prohibition lasted until 2006 when the team would allow another black man to start as goalie of the national team. In Brazil, the presence of black goalies has grown over the years but it’s no excuse for the cruel treatment that one man received for the rest of his life. In retrospect, considering all of the country’s ills and social inequalities, many the national team had it coming!
Daughter of Barbosa says the humiliation “acquits” her father, the villain of the 1950 Cup
From the Afropress newsroom
Belo Horizonte – At least one person was happy about the disgrace of the Brazilian seleção (national team) in losing to Germany by a score of 7-1, in the game played on Tuesday, July 8th, in the Mineirão stadium, which ended Brazil’s chances of winning its sixth title: Tereza Borba, the adoptive daughter of former goalkeeper Barbosa, who was made responsible for the 1950 World Cup final, when Brazil lost to Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro.
After that, because of racism in futebol, the idea on the national team and in major clubs that the position of goalie was too important to be occupied by a black man. Barbosa used to comment to friends that no one had as much shame as he: “The maximum penalty for a crime in Brazil is 30 years. I paid for that goal for 50”, he affirmed. Brazil lost the match by a score of 2-1, on a goal by Ghighia.
“To me this is great. I already knew. And Barbosa was runner-up. He was proud to be runner-up, you know? And today we eat “chocolate”, that was not from Switzerland. I’m sorry by being Brazilian, but happy to honor to Barbosa. He must be happy now,” said Barbosa’s daughter to UOL Esporte.
The family never got over the injustice suffered by the goalkeeper, blamed for the defeat. “This was to show that Barbosa has value. He was a great goalie and it was a great injustice. Barbosa had no salary, psychologist and didn’t earn (as much money) as these players earn now. What is this?” she continued.
Moacir Barbosa Nascimento died sad and bitter on April 7, 2000, in Praia Grande, on São Paulo’s coastline. After the defeat to Uruguay on the 16th of July, 1950, he would only return to play for the seleção once more, three years later in Peru’s South American Championship, against Ecuador.
In 1960 he left the Vasco club, where he won two state titles (1952 and 1958) and the quadrangular tournaments of Rio de Chile in 1953. He was marked for life, seen as something of a national villain for failing on the goal that gave the victory to Uruguay.
“As a Brazilian, I cheered very much for Brazil. He preferred that Brazil would had won, unfortunately. Barbosa was proud to be runner up. Now what? Barbosa has to be revered more than ever. He was runner up and they weren’t even runners up,” the daughter said, commenting on Brazil’s recent defeat in Mineirão stadium.
Prohibited by Parreira
The humiliations suffered by Barbosa would not stop there: according Solange Guimarães, a friend of the goalie, he was barred from the Granja Comary, the headquarters and main training center of the Brazilian national team in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, as they prepared for the World Cup in 1994.
“That day, I think was the worst day of Moacir Barbosa’s life because he came here crying and saying he didn’t expect that from (Carlos Alberto) Parreira (coach of ’94 team), who was the one who barred his entry. I told him to let it go. I said: ‘Don’t get mad, you were a good goalie, you’re a good person. Each acts in a (certain) way, but you have friends in Ramos (Rio suburb where he lived), your family. So forget this, don’t go there anymore, look only for people who really love you,’” Solange said in an interview with SportTV, in April of last year.