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Corinthians' Fan Now A Champion

I still can't quite put into words how I feel today and I'm sure this is not happening only to me. It's like I have this huge hangover, but a good one, only caused by football and by the pure emotion of seeing your club winning the most important prize it can get, for the first time in its history.

This feels so amazing, because we actually saw the whole re-building of Corinthians. Since our relegation in 2007 (something we needed to stop joking around at the time), to Serie B, to the signing of Ronaldo (which was essential not only to our rebirth, but to bring investments to the club), to the Paulista and Copa do Brasil titles, to the loss against Flamengo (!), to the loss against Tolima, to winning Brasileirão and now, to the night of all nights, to the title of Copa Libertadores da América. No wonder why when the last minutes of yesterday's game, it didn't feel like the title was only a product of the players&staff that were there on the day. I remembered of Mano Menezes, Elias, Cristian, William, Ronaldo, A. Santos, Herrera, Jucilei and so many others.

As for the game itself, I don't think I'll ever be able to analyze this properly. The first half was an uninspired one by both sides. The second one showed a total superiority by Corinthians. Emerson showed absolutely no fear in front of the goal. Good player, was the MOTM for sure and I thank him for the goals but, jokes aside, he still is a dick who I don’t enjoy watching nor do I like seeing representing Corinthians. I am just glad Boca players didn’t end up getting too frustrated at him, because the last thing I wanted to happen yesterday was a fight similar to what happened in last year’s final. Danilo’s assist, if he meant it, was magnificent. Boca, on the other hand, seemed helpless for the most part. Riquelme couldn’t show his talent, which meant they barely had any sort of organization or attacking force. Their tactic of going to ET at all costs failed miserably and I have no fear in saying we completely deserved to beat them over the two legs.

Actually, we completely deserved to win this for the whole completion. It took 102 years for us to get here, but when we did, we beat Vasco (current Copa do Brasil champions and runner up of Brasileirão 2011), Santos (Libertadores 2012 champions) and Boca Juniors, which probably is the biggest club in South America, a club I have immense respect for and that won the most international titles in the world alongside AC Milan. Our campaign was ruthless, consistent and solid. Ironically, it was much calmer than what corinthianos are used to. And we didn’t lose one of the 14 games. We suffered, but we didn’t suffer in that “let’s score the goal which will make this 1-1 in the 49th minute of the second half” way. And for that, I can’t thank Tite enough. How he managed to calm this team down, with a sort of serenity I’ve never seen before, I will never know.

The player of the competition to me is Paulinho, followed closely by Danilo and Emerson. Between the three though, the most instrumental to the way Corinthians operate is Paulinho. Ralf is too, but Paulinho’s performances were sensational. And that goal against Vasco, in the most difficult game of the tournament… that was the moment in which everyone thought “Well, we might have a shot in this”. My favorite player, on the other hand, was Chicão, as always. This guy, since 2008, committed to this club in a way that moves me. He’s been here through it all, scoring important goals and seeing him winning Libertadores was just an amazing moment. I wish he would’ve lifted the trophy with Alessandro (who absolutely deserves it too), but oh well.

Yesterday, so many images from my childhood came to me. From the moment I remember of me and my brother jumping on the couch of one room of our old appartment while watching Corinthians beating Palmeiras, to the two penalties kicked by Raí and saved by Dida, to Edílson crazy dribble and goal against Real Madrid - which meant a 2-2 draw against a legendary Madrid side -, to Marcelinho Carioca’s wonderful goals. I also thought of Dr. Sócrates, the one football player I can actually consider a hero (alongside Bobby Charlton) and who would be unbelievably happy yesterday. The title is ultimately for the supporters – A Fiel – but if it would be dedicated to someone, then this person would definitely be Sócrates.

All in all, I didn’t see 1977, but I was alive to see 2012. The day when the dreams became real and when it’s real is so much better. This team is gigantic, it was yesterday before the match started and it would still be if the result had been different. Whether you like it of now, a club that moves 30 million people, with so much history, with Democracia Corintiana… disregard something like this is a disrespect not only to the club, but to football altogether. Everything changed on 4th July 2012, but, in so many ways, it didn’t. Because if we hadn’t won the game, I still am pretty sure there would be the same amount of people wearing the Corinthians’ jersey in São Paulo’s streets, singing “Aqui tem um bando de louco…”. Because we are – and I dare anyone who has actually seen how most of supporters of Corinthians act to say otherwise – crazy about this club, no matter what the result is. It is not about winning or losing, it is about feeling and living Corinthians.

Corinthians grande, eternamente.

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