Dubai: Invaluable merchandise belonging to five former Brazil Fifa World Cup-winning captains and most of the footballing nation’s greats is now on offer to raise funds for the fight against coronavirus.
Brainchild of well-known journalist Ricardo Setyon, who served in the Fifa Communications Department at four World Cups between 1998 to 2010, the initiative is bringing together some of the greatest Brazilians footballers focused on a common cause.
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Confirmed so far with personal merchandise are former Brazilian captains, led by 2002 World Cup-winning captain Cafu, plus Dunga, Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini, Mauro Ramos de Oliveira and ‘O Capitao do Tri’ Carlos Alberto Torres.
Called ‘Ole no Corona’, it was Cafu who took centre stage when he announced the solidarity auction on CNN earlier this week. “These items will give the chance to help people who have not had the opportunity that we had. It will be a very cool campaign and we hope to contribute a lot to the people who will benefit,” Cafu explained.
The Brazilian great stressed that the amount collected will be monitored by a specialised company and that donations will be distributed to various institutions. “We are not going to focus on just one institution. We will have the opportunity to help many, many people,” he said.
The campaign opened in March at a time when the pandemic was spreading in Brazil. Setyon immediately sought help from Cafu, and the 2002 captain of the Selecao agreed to step in as the patron of the initiative. Setyon then opened a virtual kitty, but soon thought of a bigger project that would reach out other idols of the sport.
Upon agreeing that the auction of these historical gems would be the main drivers of the campaign, Setyon then embarked to bring together the world champion captains of the national team. He got the required assistance from Marcelo Neves, son of Gylmar, the former two-time Brazilian goalkeeper in at the 1958 and 1962 World Cups.
Things moved forward after the president of the association of world champion players for the Brazil national team passed the contact of Mauro’s daughter and Bellini’s wife. Both women donated an item each, while Alexandre Torres, son of Carlos Alberto, donated a shirt worn by his father in the 1970s.
With Cafu already on board, Dunga lent his support to complete the list of all five former Brazilian World Cup-winning captains.
“The idea now is to bring together one of the most powerful attacks in the history of Brazilian football and that of Santos in the 1960s,” Setyon said.
“Pele, Mengalvio, Pepe and Dorval have already donated. The idea is to move ahead and involve other former captains of the Brazilian team. Zico and Falcao are already part of the campaign, but we still need names like Leao, Branco, Marinho Peres, Rivellino and Edinho,” he added.
So far, former Real Madrid and Portugal captain Pepe is the largest donor with 11 personal items. Cafu is second with six, while Zico and Falcao have given away four apiece. The campaign also has the support of journalists Milton Neves and Mauro Beting, as well as Rogerio Ceni, Arnaldo Cezar Coelho and Figueroa, former Inter Milan defender. Women footballers have not been left out as Brazilian stars such as Formiga and Sissi have also pitched in to support the project.
Ronaldinho and Neymar are the latest ones to join in, with Ronaldinho recording a video for the campaign while guaranteeing that he will support it in some way at a later date. It is the former player’s first voluntary appearance after his arrest in Paraguay and subsequent house confinement.
Neymar, who will feature in this Sunday’s Uefa Champions League final with Paris St-Germain against Bayern Munich, has joined the campaign through his father, who confirmed the donation of some items used by the PSG striker earlier this week.
The campaign has already accumulated more than 200 pieces of memorabilia that were initially to be auctioned until February 2021. The online auction can be accessed at olenocorona.com.