Brazil misplaced its last name

Does anyone else think that the Brazilian football habit of using only first names is a bit….well…conceited?  It’s been happening forever, since Pélé or earlier, but it just smells funny.  It smacks of showmanship, of stagecraft, of Hollywood and the music industry.

As far as I know, none of the other South American nations have the same habit — only the Brazilians.

Also as far as I know, football is the only sport that this happens in.  Mixed martial arts, another sport dominated by Brazilians, has last names galore (although UFC keeps trying to rename Renato Sobral; perhaps with his permission).

It’s sad when even as great a player as Ronaldinho has to change his name (twice!) because his actual first name (Ronaldo) was already “taken” on the national team and the world stage.  That’s the problem that last names (and middle names, for that matter) were meant to solve, weren’t they?  Not that I’m advocating rolling the clock back 150 years and refer to these athletes as M. Gerrard and M. Henry and M. Kalou.

I wonder when we’ll have the first footballer whose name is only an unpronounceable symbol?


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