Pato's the real deal: and not just Englishmen can see it
In Brazil, when something is done just to keep up appearances, we use the expression para inglÃÂªs ver Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂso the Englishman can see itÃ¢ÂÂ.
So, for example, you might say: Ã¢ÂÂDid you see Michael Jackson is dating a 30-year-old woman?Ã¢ÂÂ
And I'd reply: Ã¢ÂÂOh yes... for sure... para inglÃÂªs ver.Ã¢ÂÂ
OK, it might not make perfect sense now, but it did back in the 19th century when BrazilÃ¢ÂÂs Regency government yielded to English pressure and promulgated a law forbidding the trafficking of slaves.
Everyone knew the act wasnÃ¢ÂÂt going to be taken seriously Ã¢ÂÂ the countryÃ¢ÂÂs economy depended on the slaves Ã¢ÂÂ and word was that the Regent had passed the law just so the Englishmen could see it and stop bothering our exploitative behinds.
All of this leads me to last nightÃ¢ÂÂs clash between Brazil and Sweden at the Emirates Stadium Ã¢ÂÂ BrazilÃ¢ÂÂs FIFTH game in London in less than two years. (In the same period, Brazilians have only twice been able to see the SeleÃÂ§ÃÂ£o in action, once in Rio de Janeiro and once in SÃÂ£o Paulo.)
Brazil: back in London with a new hero
Apart from the first match, when DungaÃ¢ÂÂs boys routed Argentina 3-0, the games in London have been pure deception Ã¢ÂÂ as most Brazil friendlies are. The win against Wales, the late draw at Wembley against England and the defeat to Portugal Ã¢ÂÂ all drowsy performances from bored players who couldnÃ¢ÂÂt wait for the final whistle.
But somehow England wanted to see yet another Brazil match and, for U$1.5m, the Brazilian Football Confederation duly obliged.
Unsurprisingly, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of BrazilÃ¢ÂÂs first World Cup title at the Emirates was going the same way: another forgettable display of from the SeleÃÂ§ÃÂ£o Ã¢ÂÂ to summarise it, another game para inglÃÂªs ver...
Then onto the field strode Alexandre Pato.
Eleven minutes after Dunga awoke from his lethargy and sent on Milan's young star, Pato lobbed Rami Shaaban, the poor Swedish keeper, to score the only goal of the game (read match report). A true gem in PatoÃ¢ÂÂs very first game with the SeleÃÂ§ÃÂ£o. And a real gift to the stubborn Londoners who were there hoping to finally see Brazil show their true colours.
Sweden's Rami Shabaan: the first of many global Pato victims
I was lucky enough to be at Palestra Italia stadium on November 26 2006 when 17-year-old Alexandre Pato scored his first professional goal for Internacional, against Palmeiras. I didnÃ¢ÂÂt know it at the time Ã¢ÂÂ the kid was being kept secret by Inter's directors Ã¢ÂÂ but I was witnessing history on the making.
Now, the fortune of watching Pato score his maiden goal for Brazil has gone to the English. And let's be clear, this wasn't a goal para inglÃÂªs ver: Pato is the real deal.
By granting England this privilege, IÃ¢ÂÂm happy to say, we Brazilians are excused our previous deceits. WeÃ¢ÂÂre even now.