Fabuloso's golden goals
No matter what the competition, Brazil are always ranked among the hottest of favourites. The iconic canary-yellow shirt of the Seleção is a prized item, and among those gleaming, vibrant tops, the No9 has been saved for the finest finishers.
The current occupant of the vaunted jersey is Sevilla's Luis Fabiano, who carries on the tradition of Careca and Ronaldo. FIFA.com caught up with O Fabuloso, as he is affectionately known back home, for a chat about Brazil's start to the competition and his personal goals for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009.
"We didn't play our best in our opener but we still managed to win the game," Luis Fabiano said about the thrilling 4-3 win over Egypt in Bloemfontein, where he scored the second with a glancing header. "If you win a game and don't play particularly well, that's a good thing and something to be grateful for. Maybe we were a little bit surprised by how good the Egyptians were on the day. They were very clever in attack, gave us a very hard time and had a few really outstanding players."
The former Sao Paulo ace, a UEFA Cup winner with the club in 2006 and 2007, has seemingly made the striker's spot his own for Brazil after a period of uncertainty following the reign of aging hero Ronaldo. It is an honour the 28-year-old, who had a rough ride to superstardom, is at a loss to describe.
"It's an indescribable feeling to pull on the number No9 shirt for Brazil. It's like a dream every time I do it," said Luis Fabiano, who struggled in France with Rennes and with Portuguese side Porto before finding a home in Spain. "I am desperate to keep scoring goals and keep this feeling alive. The Brazil centre-forward position is not just the tradition of Ronaldo, but Romario before him and a line of the greats of history stretching back a long, long way. It brings tears to my eyes."
Having fought his way into the limelight, the tall, speedy striker with a ruthless eye for goal has set his sights on illuminating South Africa 2009. "I would love to be the top scorer," he said. "When you're a forward all you want to do is score goals.
"I set a high target for myself to score as many goals as I possibly can. My team-mates expect it from me and I don't want to disappoint them. But it's not easy at a tournament like this to score a lot of goals. You're not going to run the score up so high against very good teams like we have here. I'll do my best, though, because I want to be the best."
Next up for Brazil are USA on 18 June, and Luis Fabiano, for one, is not taking their challenge lightly. "The USA are a very strong team," he said. "Some people might not think so, but they would be wrong. The Americans always give Brazil difficult games and I think they are an underrated team. And every time a team meets Brazil they're going to play the game of their lives. We expect this."