Fans thrill to Frankfurt training session
No matter how Wednesday's FIFA Confederations Cup final turns out, the Brazilian Seleção have won over the hearts of local supporters during their stay in Germany with their relaxed and fan-friendly approach.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has opened almost all his training sessions to the public, elevating the prodigiously skilled stars from Rio and Sao Paolo to the status of folk heroes among the German football family.
The impression was reinforced on Monday evening when the squad trained at the Brentanobad ground in Frankfurt, home to women's Bundesliga champions 1. FFC Frankfurt.
Brazilian fans, or Torcedores, mingled with their local counterparts to create a 'Maracana feeling' in miniature at the heart of the state of Hesse. Every thunderous free-kick and outrageous trick performed by Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho drew tumultuous applause, in scenes reminiscent of a spectacular session served up by the South Americans early in the tournament at the BayArena in Leverkusen.
Star striker Adriano broke off the work-out early - it was "nothing serious" according to team doctor Jose-Luiz Runco - as the rest of the squad continued to dazzle the crowds. Ronaldinho and Kaka busily signed autographs, Renato handed his training top to a lucky fan, and Robinho personally greeted every single travelling South American fan.
"The mood here in Germany is already tuned in to the World Cup," boss Parreira had commented just a few days after arriving in central Europe, and FIFA World Cup flair was in the air again at the Brentanobad ground on Monday. However, the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the session should not be misinterpreted.
Parreira and his men are deadly serious about Wednesday's match. "We want to take the Confederations Cup home with us to Brazil. After all, we've won everything else there is to win."