Although many suspected that Brazil’s centre-forward ranks weren’t what they once were ahead of the 2014 World Cup, few realised just how badly Selecao number nine Fred would struggle during their opening matches of the samba jamboree.
Mark Lawrenson gets plenty of stick for his banal BBC musings, but the former Liverpool defender summed up the striker’s night against Mexico neatly when quipping ‘someone’s just told Fred, warm up, you’re going off’ when the Fluminense man’s number came up.
With a host of famous names kicking around football’s greatest stage, we’ve had a look at who could be cajoled out of the stands to fill Fred’s boots in the Canarinho colours.
Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant was among goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa’s twitter admirers after the Mexico number one’s fantastic display when keeping out hosts Brazil in Fortaleza, and the shooting guard was caught on camera more than once at the Castelao Stadium.
The 6ft 6in hoops legend would surely provide a better outlet for Neymar and Oscar’s balls into the box against Cameroon then Fred.
Bryant lived in Italy from the ages of six to 14, during which time the Pennsylvanian giant claims he practiced his ‘favourite sport’ every day.
‘Mutti’ Merkel got one over on British opposite number David Cameron at the G8 and G20 summits in Canada four years ago, when cameras caught both world leaders’ reaction to Die Mannscahft thumping England 4-1 in South Africa.
Germany’s chancellor seemed to make it onto TV more times during her country’s 4-0 win over Portugal than Fred has in two matches for the hosts, which suggests that she – at least – is showing for the ball.
The doddery old fellow who’s been a heartbeat away from becoming leader of the free world for six years may be only worth a warm bucket of spit, in accordance with the annals of vice-presidents past, but ‘Uncle Joe’ Biden was on hand to share his cerebral analysis with the football world in Brazil.
Upon visiting the winning dressing room after the dramatic 2-1 defeat of Ghana, Biden reportedly told Team USA “This is a kick, man”, which is something Fred never got against Mexico.
Gerard Pique’s miles-better-half’s loyalties will be split between her husband’s side and her own country in Brazil, especially if Spain face Colombia at the semi-final stage, which they are on course to do.
Barranquilla’s finest is thought to be no good at throwing dummies – because her hips don’t lie, don’t you know – but with such a low centre of gravity and a bedazzling mass of hair, the 5ft 2in blonde has more in her armoury than Fred.
Pope Francis is a passionate fan of Buenos Aries side San Lorenzo and is widely reported to have a direct line to god, which must make him a better footballer than Fred.