Socrates to write columns for AP in Copa America

Former Brazil captain Socrates will write a series of columns

for The Associated Press during the Copa America in Argentina.

Socrates, who played two World Cups for Brazil, will give AP

readers his views on teams, players and the social aspects during

the South American championship which begins on July 1 and will be

played in eight Argentine cities.

”It will be great to write for a new audience,” said Socrates,

who was already a columnist in Brazil.

”Hopefully, I will be able to show readers how I see the game.

It’s not just about the game itself. Before anything, football is a

psychological battle, the human aspect plays a significant

role.”

The 57-year-old Socrates will also participate in a chat session

with AP readers before the competition starts. He said it will be

the first time he will be writing regularly for readers outside his

homeland.

”We’re honored to add to our service the Op-ed pieces by a real

football star like Socrates,” said Alejandro Manrique, Deputy

Editor for AP’s Latin America/Spanish Services. ”His pleasant and

smart writing will help our Latin American readers better

understand how the different teams can fare in Copa America, who

could be their major stars, how they’ll play, and which tactics

they’ll use on the pitch.”

Socrates captained Brazil in the 1982 World Cup in Spain and was

a member of the squad in 1986 in Mexico. The 1982 Brazil team

became widely known as the best ever not to win a World Cup.

Socrates was included in FIFA’s list of the best 125 living

footballers in the world, a list compiled by countryman Pele. He

played 63 matches for the national team in midfield, scoring 25

goals.

Socrates said he was expecting few surprises in the tournament,

with either Brazil or Argentina lifting the trophy.

”Argentina has the edge because it is playing at home, and the

support of the fans will play a big role. This psychological aspect

is important,” Socrates said. ”Of course, it can play against

them if the team is not playing well, but in principle it’s a good

advantage.”

Socrates said Paraguay and Chile may pose some difficulties, but

he doesn’t expect Uruguay to surprise again like it did in last

year’s World Cup.

Socrates also said he doesn’t expect Lionel Messi to be able to

carry Argentina to the title by himself because he won’t have the

support he gets from his teammates at Barcelona.

”It’s going to be difficult,” he said. ”He is the kind of

player who needs a team behind him. He is not like (Diego)

Maradona, who excelled individually and took care of things by

himself, Messi needs a team playing for him.”

On Brazil’s side, Socrates said Neymar has the potential to

succeed, but it’s still too early to know if he will keep evolving

and reach his full potential.

”Let’s hope it doesn’t happen what happened to Robinho, who had

potential but then stagnated,” he said.

As a player, Socrates was deeply involved in Brazilian politics,

and he often writes about the subject in his local columns. He is

also a television commentator in Brazil, where he is known as Dr.

Socrates because he also practices medicine.

With an elegant style, the tall full-bearded playmaker was known

for his great vision on the field. Always clever with the ball on

his feet, his trademark move was his back-heel pass, and he set up

and scored many goals with it throughout his career.

Socrates, whose full name is Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de

Souza Vieira de Oliveira, starred for Brazilian club Corinthians in

the early 1980s, but he also played for Flamengo, Santos and

Italy’s Fiorentina.

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