Durban – From the outside the current group of Brazilian footballers at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar look like a disciplined, obedient squad compared to the Selecao outfit that won the World Cup 20 years earlier.
For all their unbelievable ability on a football pitch, the 2002 world champions were also a bunch of mad hatter individuals, who were embroiled in some of the craziest off-the-pitch sagas you could ever imagine.
Sure enough, some top-flight footballers enjoy the occasional drink and a smoke after a hard day at work, however, many of these Brazilian greats took their off-the-field shenanigans to new levels as the below Twitter thread points out.
After another thumping win, Brazil look a shoo-in for their first World Cup since 2002.
But unlike today’s team, the Class of 2002 was full of scintillating shaggers and absolute wrong’uns.
From fake lottery tickets to 15-year-old fiancees, meet the World Cup’s wildest winners. pic.twitter.com/GhIw0zp1d8
— The Upshot (@UpshotTowers) December 6, 2022
From Ronaldo Nazario’s famous hotel incident with members of the LGBTQI community to Ronaldinho’s five-month jail sentence in a Paraguayan jail for travelling with a fake passport, the Class of 2002 were truly the definition of “rockstar footballers”, the total opposite of Tite’s current Brazilian World Cup squad.
Fair enough, Brazil captain Neymar has had his fair share of run-ins with the law and women in Europe, but even he could not eclipse Kleberson’s (2002 World Cup winner) decision to turn down a European move so he could marry his girlfriend of a year, who had just turned 15 years old (yes, they met when she was 14).
Brazil goalkeeper Dida of AC Milan (2002 World Cup winner) was among more than a dozen players banned for up to a year for their part in a false passport scandal that rocked Italian soccer in 2001.
While Arsenal’s current sporting director Edu, recently broke down as he recalled his 2000 incident which almost saw him miss out on his move to the north London club after he was adjudged to be travelling with a forged Portuguese passport to seal his move to the Premier League.
One similarity between the two sets of Brazilian squads is their undeniable talent, flair and entertaining style of play. But the only thing they have been criticised for, especially by the English pundits, is that they like to dance when scoring!
The passion and devotion of carrying an expectant nation is seemingly roaring Neymar and his charges in Qatar and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were able to win the World Cup, last done by the, well, degenerate class of 2002.