Casagrande Neymar is the mirror of Jair Bolsonaro SO FOOT

Casagrande: “Neymar is the mirror of Jair Bolsonaro” SO FOOT

Brazil will elect its new President of the Republic this Sunday. Ex-national player Walter Casagrande Júnior signs for Lula (left) against Jair Bolsonaro (far right). He draws a very clear connection between today’s campaign and his involvement in Corinthian democracy at the time.

Interview by Alexandre Berthaud, in Sao Paulo. Sunday October 2nd

Generally, when we talk about political involvement in football, we are quick to mention the case of Corinthian democracy, about the figure of the great and late Sócrates. That was 1982. Forty years later, several actors in this revolution have put on their political crampons to defend the colors of Lula (Labour Party) against outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro. Such is the case of Walter Casagrande, then striker of the popular São Paulo club. Between a tackle against Neymar and memories of past fights, he gives So Foot a few minutes on his sofa.
Why did you join the Lula campaign?
I think when Jair Bolsonaro came to power in 2018 we knew it was going to be bad. We didn’t think it would be so bad that he would have this perverted, cowardly attitude. This guy wants to destroy democracy. We also have 33 million starving people in the country (study from 2022, editor’s note). It affects me, so I’m committed as any Brazilian citizen could be. Also as a media figure, of course, because I am given space for that. In addition, many people are committed to fighting against Bolsonaro’s position. He has racist, homophobic lyrics, he has agreements with illegal gold miners in the Amazon, those who kill and rape indigenous peoples, he destroys the forest. I get involved because it is necessary in this special moment. My only regret today is not being able to mobilize against this character in 2018.

“All these demonstrations, these social movements prove that Corinthian democracy is eternal. »

And the Corinthian democracy, is it still alive today?
In football no. On the other hand, his legacy is a social one. Do you see all the rallies we’ve seen under Jair Bolsonaro in recent years? Well, the Corinthian Democracy is always present, there are always people from the Corinthian Democracy, ex-players or current supporters, contributing to the discussions. Through his perverted speech, Jair Bolsonaro brought together the defenders of democracy in Brazil. In the midst of all this, Corinthian democracy is a pillar because the club it comes from is a popular club. All these demonstrations, these social movements prove that Corinthian democracy is eternal. And I am very proud to have been one of the initiators of this movement to fight today to give it continuity.

d 519586 icon ppg 141283 01 02

You speak of Jair Bolsonaro as a threat to the republic. Corinthian democracy was also born during a protest movement.
Of course, the country was under a military dictatorship. First we demanded freedom as football players, it was quite paternalistic back then, the Brazilian player was infantilized, without responsibility. But there were some of us who had this desire: me, Sócrates, Vladimir and then the manager Adilson Antero Alves (the initiator of the movement, editor’s note). We conquered this freedom in the club, then outside we had the right to go out to have fun, for example. We went to concerts with Sócrates every weekend, I took him to see rock, he preferred sertanejo (a kind of Brazilian country, ed.). We talked, we drank a beer, it was easy, we didn’t have a name for it. One day when we were making our own decisions the term Corinthian democracy came up, we didn’t know what democracy was in 1982, the dictatorship had been there since 1964. And when we understood that we were a democracy, we understood that we were played a role, we took part in the fight for the right to vote directly for the President in 1984. We were unsuccessful, but democracy emerged stronger.

But you had that in you, that civic spirit?
I’ve always been like this since I was young. At 16, in 1979, I marched against Amnesty. (The amnesty law passed by the Brazilian parliament on August 22, 1979 guarantees that police and military torturers and opponents of the armed struggle against the regime will not be prosecuted, editor’s note.) If I think it is necessary To for a thing to fight, I fight. Today I have an editorial for Folha (from São Paulo, the largest daily newspaper in Brazil, editor’s note), also for the UOL site. I use the space that is given to me to fight for my ideas.

“I have the impression that the players today lack courage. »

Today it is no longer really hip for footballers to position themselves politically…
I agree. I have the impression that the players today lack courage. You no longer see yourself as a citizen and of course if you see yourself as just a football player you look at your club’s rules which may tell you not to position yourself. You tell yourself this is bad for your career. But if you have the conscience of a Brazilian citizen, it seems obvious to me that there is no hesitation to manifest or not. Because you know your voice matters as a professional gamer. Some use this space, others abuse it. Like Neymar.

In fact, Neymar has declared his support for Jair Bolsonaro for this election.
It’s one of the scariest things a soccer player can do. It’s perverted behavior, after all, Neymar’s speech isn’t, but it’s the guy he’s supporting that is. This guy (Bolsonaro) is racist, he’s homophobic, he laid guns on the street, he attacked women journalists. And yet – I won’t say he had the courage, but rather the cowardice – does he still have the cowardice to record this support video for a nefarious, evil, cowardly character? Neymar behaved like one of the worst Brazilians there can be on this planet.

What consequence do you see here for his image?
The little light, people who loved him, followers of the Seleção, all went out. Regardless, even if he brings back the Hexa, he will go down in history with this support for a pernicious, perverted, cowardly, lying presidential candidate. Neymar supports that. And to me, when you support a character like that, you support what he says, you support what he does, you are his equal. Neymar is Jair Bolsonaro’s mirror.

d 519586 icon bap 270922 93 225

Interview by Alexandre Berthaud, in Sao Paulo.