Luiz Felipe Scolari described Brazil’s stunning World Cup semi-final humiliation against Germany as the nadir of his life both professionally and personally. But things are likely to get worse before they get better for the Canarinha’s beleaguered manager.
Job under threat
Brazil were pummelled, embarrassed and ground into the dust by a rampant Germany, who recorded a quite unbelievable 7-1 victory to condemn the host nation to their darkest day since the Maracanazo 64 years ago.
They were without their two best players, captain Thiago Silva and talisman Neymar, for this encounter, but this should not be deemed a viable excuse. Silva and Neymar can count themselves fortunate to be the only members of that squad except from criticism, and heads will roll as the post-mortem continues.
Scolari will inevitably depart, while many will be surprised he has yet to walk, and the search for a successor capable of reviving the crushed dreams of a nation may well already be underway.
As the Brazil hierarchy consider replacements for Big Phil, they have been provided with a somewhat caustic job description for the next manager by the prominent agent Wagner Ribiero, who represents none other than Neymar.
Ribiero posted on his Twitter feed a list of six requirements for the new head coach of the Seleção, and it was hardly even a thinly veiled attack on Scolari and his chequered CV.
1. "Manage Portugal and win nothing.”
2. "Go to Chelsea and get fired.”
3. "Go and manage Uzbekistan.”
4. "Come back to Brazil, take a big team [Palmeiras] and relegate it to the Second Division.”
5. "Tender his resignation 56 days before the end of the Brazilian league season to 'escape' relegation [with Palmeiras].”
6. "Be a pompous old ass, arrogant, revolting, nauseating, bigheaded and a joke.”
A personal axe to grind?
It was always assumed Scolari enjoyed a close relationship with Neymar during their time spent together with the national team, with the experienced former Chelsea manager establishing himself as something a father figure to his players.
But does Ribiero’s astonishing attack suggest something different? Perhaps so, although it is far more likely the famed negotiator has a personal axe to grind with Scolari, rather than there being specific concerns related to Neymar.
Watch: Neymar delivers tearful message
Neymar, meanwhile, is ‘recovering well’ from the fractured vertebra he sustained during the quarter-final defeat of Colombia last week, with medical staff from his club Barcelona having travelled to Brazil to assess the extent of the damage.
“FC Barcelona’s Medical Services visited Neymar Jr at the player’s home in Brazil this week. The Club’s Medical Services confirmed the CBF’s diagnosis that Neymar had fractured the L3 vertebrae in his back,” a statement from Barcelona read.
“The CBF and Barça’s Medical Services are in agreement on the type of treatment the player will undergo in his recovery process.
“The player is recovering well and he’ll continue his recovery in Barcelona starting on August 5.”