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A Thorough Look. Is Brazilian Ginga Dead?


What is Brazilian Ginga and why should it be considered dead? How is that connected to sports? Why is this topic worth discussing? All these questions will be addressed further, but let’s have a quick throwback and watch this video of unbelievable skills by Brazilian football players. Enjoy!

What you have just watched IS Brazilian Ginga. This is the style we all loved, the style we all miss and the style the younger generation is unfortunate not to see very often in the current world football. But let’s go one by one…

Brazilian Ginga is a very old style of playing football, which has originated in Brazil back in the 19th century. After the British (the Scottish, to be precise) introduced the Brazilians to this new sport, it has become a lifestyle for the locals. However, the football they were playing was really different from the one played in Europe. Brazilians managed to use football as another way to practice Capoeira, the dance-like martial art originated back in black slavery era.


So, the chain was as follows: the martial art they practiced was dance-like, so that the masters mixed it up with African dances. After the trick was revealed and the practicing Capoeira was banned, the Brazilians started using football to practice Capoeira secretly. This gave birth to Ginga, which later entered the professional football and conquered it…

Pele did it! The best sportsman of 20th century introduced Ginga to the world and won THREE(!) world cups for his country. That is when the Brazilian football won the fans’ hearts, and that is exactly when the terms Brazilian football and Beautiful football started to note the same thing…

However, we do not see much of flying balls, unbelievable dribbling and dance-like tricks with ball recently. The top European leagues lack the Brazilian football we love. Pele, Garrincha, Clodoaldo, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Romario are left in the past. One of the last players to show Ginga worldwide was Ronaldinho at Barcelona and Milan. That is why many argue that he is one of the last footballers to PLAY football, to treat it as a GAME, not his job.


The problem, however, is not the fact of current football lacking Ginga. The problem is current football BLOCKING Ginga. This can be easily observed on Neymar’s case. The famous attacker showed Brazilian soul while playing in Santos. Barcelona laid their eye on the Brazilian kid in dreams of acquiring “another Ronaldinho.” But what do we observe? When the Brazilian landed in Spain, his style of play changed. It got adapted to European high rhythm and strong defense. Do not get me wrong, Neymar is still a great player, in fact one of the best in the world, but we see less and less of Ginga in his game. Moreover, whenever he is starting to “dance with the ball”, he is getting highly criticized by the opponents, coaches, media and the fans.


The game which was previously considered beautiful, is now perceived as a trial “to humiliate the opponent”. The art of juggling the ball is now being called a way to show off. Efficiency is ALWAYS valued higher than the beauty. So, one might reasonably think the highly professionalized football of the recent years is killing Ginga. Which is clearly visible in the last failures of Brazilian national team not only in terms of trophies, but also in the inspiration of the individuals. However, there is a hope…

Back in 1950s football was played with the ball touching the pitch only. Pele was highly criticized for what he was trying to bring to football. He fought for his style, he brought it up and he succeeded. Brazilian football is highly criticized recently, too. So, is this the end, or should we expect another revolutionary to enter the field? Should we just be patient and wait for another…Pele?