Indigestible Brazilian ballets, Keane and Souness don’t like them. The reply: ‘Your problems’

The “dancinhas” cause controversy, but Paquetà and Raphinha underline: “We don’t make fun of anyone, it’s our way of celebrating”. And Richarlison will continue to do the pigeon dance…

by our correspondent Sebastiano Vernazza

December 6th

Some don’t like the “dancinhas”, the ballets that Brazilian players stage to celebrate goals. Roy Keane, rough Manchester United midfielder at the turn of the millennium, thundered: “I’ve never seen so many dances on a football field, it’s like watching Strictly,” he said live on ITV, of which he is a commentator. “Strictly come dancing” is the English version of “Dancing with the stars”, indeed it is the mother program, given that “Ballando” descends from “Strictly”. Keane insisted: “I know it’s part of their culture, but I find these dances of the Brazilians disrespectful of the opponents”. Graeme Souness, Scottish former Liverpool and Sampdoria echoed him: “It’s only a matter of time before someone hurts one of these Brazilians.” Harsh words that ignited social media and TV in Brazil.


From America, Alexi Lalas, former Padova defender, rock singer, sided with dancing Brazil: “I feel sorry for those who complain about the Brazilians’ dances. I’m sorry for you, for the life you lead, without love or passion”. From Paquetà came a first answer to Keane: “In our dances we express happiness for the goal. We don’t dance to mock, we don’t do the “dancinhas” in the face of our opponents. If someone doesn’t like it, there’s nothing we can do about it.” Raphinha ditto: “The problem is with those who don’t approve of our celebrations, we will continue to celebrate them”. Just Raphinha, before the World Cup, had said that more than ten ballets were studied in the locker room, with the relative music, which the players imagine hearing during the choreographies. For example, the “dancinha” for Vinicius’ goal, the first in Monday’s 4-1 win against South Korea, had “o Pagodao do Birimbola” as a virtual backing track, a song that in Brazil is viral on Tik Tok and that mixes funky and “Bahian pagodao”, a variant of the “pagode”, subgenre of samba.


A separate discussion must be made for Richarlison. When he scores, the Tottenham striker imitates the pigeon, which is why they call him “o Pombo”, which in Portuguese really means pigeon. After scoring the goal for the Koreans, Richarlison ran towards the bench to convince Tite to perform the pigeon movements and the coach accepted with self-irony and good spirit: “Also because – he explained later – the ballets they do on the field for me they are too difficult”. After the match, Richarlison entered the study of Ronaldo the Phenomenon, a hot interviewer of the players of the Seleçao, and even the Phenomenon did not escape, he too tried to imitate the pigeon. Let’s hope Keane and Souness didn’t see the scene.