Socrates to write columns for AP in Copa America

Socrates to write columns for AP in Copa America

Published May. 19, 2011 7:08 p.m. ET

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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