The Brazilian teams still in the Libertadores and Copa do Brasil have adopted the same strategy as every year, saving the best players for the midweek games and playing their reserves in the league.
Both Santos and Corinthians are getting exactly what they deserve for such stupid, short-sighted and insulting policies. After four games, Corinthians are bottom of the table with 1 point and Santos are just above them with 3 points.
The clubs still in the Copa do Brasil playing semi-reserve teams are doing almost as badly. Palmeiras are second bottom of the table and Coritiba are in 14th place. Only Sao Paulo in seventh and Gremio – in third after defeating Corinthians (reserves) yesterday – are anywhere like they should be.
The policy is stupid because resting top players for league games doesn’t make these teams any more likely to triumph in the Libertadores.
It’s short-sighted because giving up on so many points at the start of the season will inevitably cost them any chances of league success later on.
And it’s insulting to players because it presumes they can’t perform to the best of their abilities twice in a week and to fans, who are asked to pay to see sub-standard line ups.
Pele used to play more games in a season than any player does today. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo play twice a week and seem to do just fine. Players in England, Germany, France and Italy all play high profile, energy sapping league matches at the weekend and Champions league fixtures during the week.
Supporters deserve better. They’re not daft. Yesterday’s crowd to see Santos (reserves) play Sao Paulo (reserves)? 6,327.