There’s something about the impish, carefree joy of Brazilian teams not managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari that evokes a sense of eternal youth. Sadly, even the greats must succumb to the inevitability of the aging process, and Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos are now so old that they use the word millennial.
Yet they and their compatriots carry on, and on — fueled, presumably, by a love of the game and a conviction that they’re still better than almost everyone else. Which may well be true. Ronaldo talked about playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at aged 38 last year. Ronaldinho’s still going at 35, though after all his partying, you’ve got to figure his athletic age is closer to 50. Sócrates turned out for English minnows Garforth Town in 2004, aged 50.
More recently, Rivaldo, at a sprightly 43, started on Tuesday for Brazilian side Mogi Mirim — a Sao-Paulo-based club with the magnificent nickname “Big Toad.” It was a desperation move for a team that hadn’t won in 11 games, though it’s not as if the coach could have stopped him, since Rivaldo is a.) the club president and b.) frickin’ Rivaldo.
Last year he put the club up for sale on Instagram. Rivaldo is old, yes, but still all kinds of awesome.
His former Brazil teammate is also a proponent of jogo geriatrico, having just been named as player-manager of the Indian Super League’s Delhi Dynamos. OK, he hasn’t played competitively in nearly three years and is 42, but this is the competition that last year featured David James (44), Robert Pires (41), David Trezeguet (37), Alessandro Del Piero (40) and Freddie Ljungberg (38). In India, age ain’t nothing but a number.