Carlos Alberto, the Brazilian World Cup winner of 1970, has slammed Manchester United for apparently "raping" Brazilian football.
Following reports that Manchester United have signed up-and-coming Brazilian star Dodo, 17, from Corinthians for a sum of £5.7 million, Alberto gave a scathing interview in which he stated that he believes the Red Devils are taking advantage of Brazilian talent and snatching them up at a very young age.
"It is disgraceful United are allowed to rape Brazilian football. The big teams have the money and can take our best players. It is a big problem in Brazil. The clubs cannot keep hold of them if they are good young players because they can make much more money in other countries."
Dodo, who had not made one single first team appearance for the Brazilian club, follows other fellow countrymen Rodrigo Possebon, Fabio, Rafael Da Silva, and Anderson (although not actually signed direct from Brazil) at Old Trafford.
Dodo, who is rated as one of the best young central defenders in the game at the moment (comparisons have been made with Alberto himself) is part owned by Corinthians and part owned by a third-party group, Traffic Football Management.
I know what United fans are thinking: Here we go again. Carlos Tevez hysteria is back.
Manchester United struck up a deal with the third-party company last year to basically have first choice on over 120 young footballers being groomed in Sao Paulo academies to play European football.
All these footballers are of course owned by Traffic Football Management and to be honest with a name like Traffic—and the way they own players—slavery comes to mind.
Although we know that's not the case, the comparison holds some water.
However this Manchester United fan is in two minds about what Carlos Alberto is stating.
Why Carlos Alberto is right
To a certain degree I have sympathy for Carlos. During his playing days, Brazil was the place to be. At his peak years he played for Fluminense, Flamengo, and Santos.
However, it seems to be very rarely now that a Brazilian player stays in his homeland and instead plies his trade in Europe with one of the elite teams such as A.C. Milan and Barcelona.
He went on to say "they should change the law so at least until the age of 20 or 21 the best players are playing in Brazil and get some experience before moving to Europe."
And it's here that he is 100 percent correct.
Even if the players are to move, then maybe the least they could do is wait until they develop into more accomplished and experienced players.
Take Manchester United's Anderson for example. He joined Portuguese champions FC Porto at a very young age before securing a transfer to the Red Devils. During his time in Brazil, he was touted as one of the world's greatest up-and-coming talents.
An excellent attacking-midfielder, along with pace and trickery, some even dubbed him the next Ronaldinho.
However, his development has been disappointing and instead has turned into a "piano carrier" or defensive midfielder.
Who's to blame for this?
Probably Porto and Manchester United for not using him to his full potential, but blame could also go to Anderson for not spending more time playing in Brazil to hone his talents further.
Whether Manchester United's other Brazilian fledglings turn out the same remains to be seen.
But why target just Manchester United?
This is where I think Carlos Alberto has made a mistake. While I do not condone what Manchester United have done regarding the deal with the third party or the signing of other young players, it's blind stupidity to target Manchester United alone.
Clubs from Spain and Italy have been mainly guilty of this over the years, taking some of Brazil's top talent to their clubs.
Carlos Alberto never targeted Real Madrid when they "raped" Sao Paulo and Fluminense for Robinho and Marcelo respectively.
Carlos Alberto never targeted A.C. Milan when they "raped" Internacional, Sao Paulo and Fluminense for Alexandre Pato, Kaka, and Thiago Silva.
Or when Diego was taken to Europe, or Arsenal snatched up Denilson, or when Liverpool raided Gremio for Lucas, or when Juan was taken to Bayern Levrekusan.
The list is endless.
The "raping" is not confined to Brazil either. Remember when Inter Milan snatched up five South American players (who included Recoba) for a measly £10 million?
Is Carlos Alberto's problem more to do with third parties?
While I believe that the Brazil legend certainly has a valid case for complaint, I wonder if he is more worried that the Brazilian clubs that are losing these players are not getting the compensation deserved.
The third parties, which own these players, are more or less receiving a large chunk of the transfer fee.
Although the Brazilian league is a conveyor belt of talent, surely the loss of transfer fees has a profound effect on the facilities and the ability for that club to improve.
If FIFA stepped in to stop such third parties being involved with players, then the said clubs could charge whatever price they liked for their starlets.
Imagine if instead United had to pay £20 million instead of £5.4 million?
I'm sure they would not be as interested then.
Either way, from a fan's point of view, I am very excited about any Brazilian players coming to the club I support or any club in Europe for that matter. It's always a gift to watch some of the best players in the world strut their stuff in some of the world's biggest leagues.
I just wish their wasn't so much disgrace and politics behind the beautiful game.
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