Brazil | ‘Garbage will be collected selectively’

So [to] bring the right to host the Cup to Brazil also means [to] awaken this emotion. We have won five times a World Cup. But this emotion is still alive, despite the fact that we won five times. Our relationship with football is very particular. I’ve seen people spend five years discussing a match. I’ve seen people discussing for five hours a match, but I’ve never seen someone discussing a sexual relationship for five hours. So I can tell you that the emotion created by football lasts longer than the emotion created by sexual relationships. I’m not saying that one is better is the other. I’m just saying that one lasts longer than the other.

And, from now on, if FIFA decides to grant us this honor, I can reassure you, Mister President, Joseph Blatter, that you will be able to count on us, and you will see that we will be as disciplined as our football players. We will be as creative. We will work in a team as our players do. And as Brazilians we will honor our commitments.

Coelho extols the notion of sacrifice (albeit “creative” sacrifice) on behalf of a team concept, which appears to clash, at least superficially, with a literary ethos he describes as “man in search of his own identity.” In his writing he has elevated the motif of pilgrimage or journey atop the hierarchy of spiritual fulfillment, which is sensible considering his own fractured biography—involving electroshock therapy as a youth and persecution by the Brazilian dictatorship. The trauma helped launch a seeking life as a lyricist, theater director and self-actualizer.

Still, it seemed strange to see a figure of letters participating in the corporate-tainted badinage and boosterism such as that on view in Zurich this week. Was Coelho seduced by the CBF vision quest? Does he ignore what Rio salesman Lucas Mattos called “this misery in the streets”?


Listen to our podcast interview with Coelho, recorded on Nov 8.

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2 comments on this post.
  1. The Global Game | Left Wing (Crossing soccer with life) » ‘Invisible chain of solidarity’ | Football-generated passions, says Coelho, will propel Brazil toward 2014:

    [...] presentation to host the 2014 World Cup and the role of writer Paulo Coelho in the bid effort (see Nov 2), we received a message from one of Coelho’s assistants, taking note of our [...]

  2. ‘Garbage will be collected selectively’ | Banal wordplay leads to inevitable end … Brazil in 2014 | Paulo Coelho's Blog:

    [...] and dream football."   This article is written by John Turnbull. Please visit the blog The Global Game to read the [...]

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