Flamengo fans find new way to fire up players

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That’s life (that’s life), that’s what all the people say
You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.

Fast-forward two months to July in the lyrics of the 1966 classic “That’s Life”, immortalized by Frank Sinatra, and you’ll have almost have Flamengo’s story so far in the Brazilian Championship... including the shot down bit.

In June, Flamengo were riding high, topping the table with a seven-point lead. Coach Caio Jr, who turned down a millionaire offer from Qatar, was celebrated as a club hero, a genious of the race. It couldn’t get better. So...

Come July and the Rio de Janeiro side hit a major slump. Flamengo dropped from first to sixth, losing four games, drawing two and winning none. And as if that misery wasn’t enough, they faced an unexpected threat on Wednesday during training at Gávea.

Flamengo: Table-toppers have tailed off badly 

A bunch of ultras-slash-bandits broke into the club and simply dropped a bomb on the pitch where the players were training. Even in the crime-ridden city of Rio de Janeiro, this was a new one.

Hit by the bomb splinters, forward Obina and defender Dininho suffered minor injuries. Goalkeeper Bruno, midfielder Ibson and left-back Juan (former Arsenal) tried to settle the scores with the thugs, but they were held down by the club staff and by captain Fábio Luciano, who tried to avoid further confrontation with the hooligans even in the aftermath of their violent act.

“We talked to the fans and it’s alright now. The bomb was an isolated thing.” It sure must have been, since no one was arrested, not surprising, considering we’re talking about Brazil.

Juan, however, lashed out. “This is the kind of thing that motivates a player to leave Flamengo and to play abroad. If anyone decides to pack, you can see why. It stains the club image.”

Frank Jnr: Never a good reason to turn down a photo op

It’s one of those funny coincidences that, amidst the July turmoil, some wise Flamengo director arranged a photo op with Frank Sinatra Jr, who has been touring Brazil since early June. The son of Ol’ Blue Eyes was given a Flamengo shirt, which he promised to wear in his Rio de Janeiro concert this Friday.

If Flamengo stay in tune, Frank Jr. might well sing the closing verses of “That’s Life” in tribute to the feelings of their disenchanted fans.

And if there’s nothin’ shakin’ come this here July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die.

My, my...