Fabiano the Fabulous
It is never easy being a goalscorer, and least of all in a team like Brazil, who have always taken great pride in their fearsome ability to outscore opponents.
Take the case of Luis Fabiano, who has experienced several highs and lows since beginning his quest to make the coveted No9 Seleção jersey his own six years ago. Initially considered an outsider for the post, he formed part of a clutch of players who failed to stake a convincing claim to regular striking duties in the Brazil side. Yet, over the last 18 months he has proved the doubters wrong with his dedication and uncanny ability to find the back of the net.
When he arrived in South Africa for the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Sevilla front man set himself the challenging target of scoring at least one goal a game in the competition. Not only did the 28-year-old striker achieve his personal goal, he also set his side on the road to victory in the final, scoring two second-half goals against USA to the level the score, a brace that ultimately helped them to their third Festival of Champions success.
The only problem for Luis Fabiano now is that Canarinha fans will almost certainly expect him to go out and do the same at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, not that he appears too concerned about that burden right now. "I'm delighted that everything worked out as planned in the final," he told FIFA.com after Brazil had completed their exciting comeback. "I hadn't scored in my two previous games but as it turned out there was no better way for me to reach that target of five goals in as many games."
"It would be nice to keep the average going at the World Cup here next year. I'll be working hard to do just that," vowed the smiling assassin, who will take home the adidas Golden Shoe as the top scorer in the competition, not to mention the adidas Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament.
Despite his prolific performances, the man they call O Fabuloso is taking nothing for granted as far as his and Brazil's participation in next year's showpiece tournament is concerned. "We still haven't made sure of qualification yet and there's still a year to go before the finals. All I know is that in a country like Brazil nothing is ever certain and that you always have to fight for your place."
Perhaps he is right to be cautious, especially with Germany 2006 veterans Adriano, Fred and Ronaldo having all made successful goalscoring returns to Brazilian club football with Flamengo, Fluminense and Corinthians respectively.
"Every time I've gone out and played for the Seleção I've always been very calm," he continues, revealing his recipe for goalscoring success. "That's because I'm confident in what I do and also because Dunga has always made it clear how much confidence he has in me. No matter what happens or how many goals I score, I've got to keep on working hard."
As long as the goals keep flowing, however, particularly when there is important silverware at stake, there is little reason for the free-scoring No9 to be modest about his abilities. And regardless of whether he believes the jersey is his, fabulous Fabiano is determined to keep on doing what he does best. "Scoring goals is my life. It's my job. It's what I'm expected to do. And if my goals can help us achieve more wins like today, then I'll be a happy man."