by Robbie Blakeley

I’m going to start by saying something f***ing obvious: you can’t turn back time. I’ve already tried, but the clock is a fickle bitch. I’m forced to admit that the hairs dying on top of my pinkish crown aren’t going to grow back, the moobs will swell with each can of beer, and, to top it all off, the Rio summer sun insists on turning my vanilla skin a lobster pink rather than Latino brown, or any other shade faintly resembling masculinity for that matter. But, I digress..

The main point being times change and someone needs to inform the CBF, Brazil’s increasingly out-of-touch football federation. This morning, Luiz Felipe Scolari, aka “Felipão” (Big Phil to the Brazilian press, the jammiest git this side of the Atlantic to you and me), was unveiled for his second spell as coach of the Seleção, the Brazilian national side.

The decision smacks of people pleasing but more worryingly smacks of a refusal to face facts. Brazil are no longer the greatest footballing side on the planet, indeed they haven’t been for some time, yet the men in power fail to recognize the decline.

The reality of the current Brazilian team is very different to the legendary sides built on players of stature like Pelé, Garrincha, Jairzinho, Rivellino, Zico and Ronalo Fenômeno. The two best players in the world are Argentine and Portuguese and Europe’s top sides are no longer led by the genius of a playmaker or striker from these shores – at Milan, Robinho and Pato barely get a sniff and both are likely to be offloaded in January.

In the days between the dismissal of Menezes and this morning’s official hiring of Scolari, Brazilian newspapers were filled with talk of a possible first; a foreign manager coaching the national team. The name linked, inevitably, was that of Pep Guardiola, yet was met by narrow-minded indignation by some Brazilian coaches.

Tite, manager at Corinthians and winner of the 2012 Libertadores and 2011 Brasileirão, was one to question Guardiola’s accomplishments and this his ability to take charge of international football’s most successful nation.

“Guardiola just has Barcelona on his CV. And what coach wouldn’t be successful with the players he had?” was his outraged cry.

Fine, he’s only managed Barcelona. But let’s look at what he achieved there. Spanish league titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Copa del Rey in 2008 and 2011, the Spanish Super Cup in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Champions League in 2008 and 2010, the European Super Cup in 2009 and 2011 and the World Club title in 2009 and 2011.

In short, 14 titles in three years. It would do well to remind Tite just how Brazil won their five World Cup titles – with the best players of the era. Pelé, Garrincha and Didi in 1958 and 1962, Pelé again and Jairzinho in 1970, Romário and Bebeto in 1994 and the mesmerizing trio of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho in 2002. Does that take anything away from the achievement?

Brazil have fallen behind in the quest for performance definition; that title now belongs unquestionably to Spain, and the exciting young German side is not far behind.

But nothing will change unless those at the top of the Brazilian game acknowledge there is a problem, face the reality that Brazil no longer rule the world with their notion of the Beautiful Game. That time has been but it can come again.

Stepping forward, with a progressive thinking coach, is the path to success. Instead, the CBF have taken a 10 year step backwards.

Robbie is the senior sports reporter for the Rio Times