It’s a Brazilian test for Manchester City as they have been sent to the final to play Fluminense. I was able to catch up with Kamila Villareal of Seção Feminina to help get us up to speed with all things Fluminense.
Bitter and Blue (BnB): Can you tell us about Fluminense’s dangerous players and who to keep an eye out for?
Kamila Villareal: John Kennedy, the striker: here in Brazil he’s called “Predestinado” (predestined) because his game grows in big games, he’s dangerous in front of goal.
Fabio, the goalkeeper: despite his 43 years old, he’s a liable GK and his experience was very important for Fluminense in the season.
Jhon Arias, the midfielder: the Colombian midfielder is like a maestro, take the ball and pass the ball, he can see the spaces in the field and put the forwards on the front of the goal.
Bonus track: PH Ganso, the other midfielder which some people here in Brazil told “he would be better than Neymar but his knee disallowed” - Neymar and him are Santos FC academy products and played together in Club World Cup against Barcelona in 2011, but a ACL in his knee made which his career made some changes - but he have experience and touch in the ball still have hurts the defences.
BnB: What can you tell us about their style of play and coach?
KV: Fernando Diniz is a big fan of Pep’s style of game and he have some classes with our manager when he was the Bayern Munich manager. So we can await a similar style of play which City fans knows, but Fluminense players don’t have the same quality. Pep’s players have - they’re good, but not the same. Some Brazilians tells the Diniz style will be “kamikaze” in front of City.
Many Brazilian managers are the same - overplayed - so Diniz is a fresh rising manager, but he was delayed to win a major trophy - the Carioca Championship this year with Flu (Flu means FLUMINENSE, ok? Haha), and the media is waiting for him wins a big trophy, in this case, the Libertadores.
But, for me, and many people, he’s overrated.
BnB: Scouting report on Andre who City are allegedly interested in?
KV: He’s a very good player, a Flu academy product and Diniz called him to the Seleção and many teams wants him, but here in Brazil, the media says Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool wants him, nothing about City.
I think André will be sold only when the European season ends - don’t forget the Brazilian football calendar is different from Europe, here the 2023 season ends.