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Brazilian Football - Championship 2004 - Final Results
To read introductory notes about the Brazilian Championship of 2004, click here.
On Dec. 19th, the Santos team became the Brazilian Football Champion of 2004; Santos had also been the Champion of 2002, and was vice-Champion of 2003; so, it´s the team with the best Brazilian performance this new century.
Santos is the team which Pelé used to play for, in the 1960s and 1970s. For several years, it was the best team in the world. The team has a smallish stadium called Vila Belmiro, located in the city of Santos, in the coast of the State of São Paulo.
The most important Santos´s player was Robinho, who´s also considered by the majority as the best player of the Season. Robinho´s mother was kidnapped and kept hostage for about 40 days; she was released (after ramson was paid) a few days before the final match.
Other important players of the season were Rodrigo, Robinho´s mate through the firs half of the tournament; Diego moved to the team of Oporto, in Portugal. Washington was the main striker (read below). Romário played a few matches, but seems to be retired. Rivaldo also played very few matches, but was a fiasco. According to an election conducted by O Globo (important newspaper), the Team of the Year include, to name just the most famous: Julio Cesar (Flamengo, one of the goalkeepers of the Brazilian team), Junior Baiano (Flamengo, played in the World Cup France 1998), Ricardinho (Santos, played in the WC Japan 2002), and the croatian-born Petkovic (Flamengo).
Santos´ coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, became Brazilian champion for the 5th time.
Vice-Champion was Atlético Paranaense, which had been Champion in 2001 (not to be confused with Atlético Mineiro, another important Brazilian team). Atlético Paranaense is, with Coritiba, the dominant team in the State of Paraná; however, before 2001, Atlético had never reached not even a quarter final in National Championships. Atlético´s stadium (Arena da Baixada) is one of the most modern in Brazil.
The main striker was Washington, playing for Atlético (he played very few times in the Brazilian national team); he scored 34 goals, the highest number ever in Brazilian championships; it looks like he is going to play in a Japanese team in 2005. Washington had a heart misfuntion detected about three years ago, which obliged him to go through surgery; during his first matches this year, doctors were standing by the line.
Final classification was: Santos, Atlético Paranaense, São Paulo, Palmeiras, Corinthians, Goiás, Juventude, Internacional, Fluminense, Ponte Preta, Figueirense, Coritiba, Cruzeiro, Paysandu, Paraná, Vasco, Flamengo, São Caetano (because one of their players died while playing - read below -, São Caetano was punished with the loss of 24 points; otherwise, it would have been finished in the 5th position), Atlético Mineiro, Botafogo, Criciúma, Guarani, Vitória and Grêmio.
Four teams were downgraded to second division: Criciúma, Vitória, Grêmio (which was Brazilian, South American and World Champion team in 1983) and Guarani (Brazilian Champion 1978). Vitória (from the State of Bahi) was the only team of Brazilian Northeast in 2004; in 2005, Fortaleza (from Ceará), which was vice-champion of second division this year, will be the only team of Northeast. Up until the last round, a few important teams were under risk of being downgrade, like Flamengo, Botafogo and Atlético Mineiro.
Two teams will be upgraded to the first division in 2005: Brasiliense, from Brasília, and Fortaleza. Brasiliense is a very young team, founded in the late 1990s and maintained since by an important entrepreneur/politician; however, Brasiliense was Champion of third division last year and now champion of second division; last year, Brasiliense was vice-champion of Copa do Brazil; the performance is impressive.
Saddest note of the year was the death of Serginho, player of São Caetano, who had a heart failure and died before the cameras.
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