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She beat Neymar; here's Natalia Guitler's story

Blog - ESPN FC United
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Best and worst of football fandom firmly on display this past week in Brazil

Chile's Union La Calera showed the ultimate class in their Copa Sudamericano tie with Chapecoense.
Chile's Union La Calera showed nothing but pure class in their Copa Sudamericana tie with Chapecoense.

The passions that football engenders have a huge capacity to bring to the surface some of the best and the worst of the human being. The game can forge international friendships, and it can turn neighbours into enemies. Both sides of the balance sheet have been on show in Brazil in the past few days.

On Sunday, a local cup final in Rio de Janeiro turned into an object lesson of the dangers of adults acting like children, and a warning of what can happen when teams see each other as enemies rather...

Tragedy in the Vulture's Nest: The preventable death of 10 rising stars at Flamengo

Vinicius Vital cries during the funeral of his friend Arthur Vinicius, one of 10 young soccer players who lost their lives after the fire at Flamengo.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Fifteen-year-old Christian Esmerio's funeral on a 95 degree Sunday packed the humble chapel at Rio's Iraja cemetery well beyond capacity, with photographers and television crews jostling for space along cracked sidewalks.

Burials in front of the media are rare here. Most people laid to rest are fameless residents of the working-class suburbs, where Esmerio was born to a 20-year-old recent high school graduate and a 23-year-old street vendor. But Esmerio, a goalkeeper,...

Has Neymar fulfilled his potential as heir apparent to Ronaldo and Messi?

If one human year is worth seven in dog years, what is the equation comparing a civilian career to that of a professional footballer? Neymar turned 27 on Tuesday, and next month it will be 10 years since he made his professional debut. If he were a working stiff like the rest of us, he'd be well past the halfway point, maybe somewhere in his late 40s. Nowhere near the end, but at the stage when the time you have left is less than the time you had.

Neymar was the next big thing in Brazilian football,...

Neymar parties hard with Alves, Mbappe for 27th birthday despite being on crutches

Neymar's birthday party featured another great Dani Alves outfit and some PSG stars performing on-stage
Neymar was not going to let a little thing like being on crutches stop him throwing a huge 27th birthday party in Paris.

Just as he's done for the past few years, Neymar threw himself a lavish party in Paris to celebrate his birthday on Monday night.

The Paris Saint-Germain star actually turned 27 on Feb. 5 -- the same birthday as Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Sven-Goran Eriksson and about 19 million others around the world.

Neymar said that he wished he had "a new metatarsal" in a tearful speech to his assembled friends and family, but that was only a temporary break in the festivities.

Looks like a thoroughly...

Natalia Guitler, the woman who beat Neymar, impressed Ronaldinho in footvolley

Natalia has gained fame by showing her skills in footvolley matches and table soccer matches against football stars like Neymar, Nenê, and even Ronaldinho Gaúcho.
Natalia Guitler is a stellar footvolley player, a sport that is very popular on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

As of today, footvolley is not a sport that is played by legions of players around the world. That said, the following and practice of the offshoot of soccer that was born on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro has grown significantly over the past few years, and it continues to grow today.

Athletes might dedicate their careers to becoming professionals and pursue a variance of the sport as a means of sustenance. Such is the case for Natalia Guitler, one of the foremost Brazilian footvolley players in...

Will Brazil lure Fernandinho back for redemption at Copa America?

Fernandinho looks on after Brazil were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Belgium.
Fernandinho took a lot of heat after Brazil went out in the World Cup quarterfinals against Belgium.

After his Burnley side took a weekend mauling from Pep Guardiola's men, coach Sean Dyche was emphatic. Manchester City, he said, are in the fight to win all possible titles this season.

The Premier League has become a little bit harder for City after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle, when Fernandinho gave away a late penalty. Nevertheless, the Brazilian midfielder is a key component of the team's four pronged title charges. City suffered a little dip in form during his absence last month. Fernandinho...