Star of the World Cup? Owen, teenage king of the ripping sprint and the comedy dive?
Okocha, so skilful even his team-mates bought his dummies? Batistuta or Vieri, top class
goal machines? Bergkamp, petulant genius?
Nah. Dunga. You heard.
Amid the multi-million pound circus of fannydangle that is the Brazilian
national team in 1998, your man is an increasingly striking figure. A haircut that
looks suspiciously self-inflicted; a crumbled face that, even at its happiest, rarely
manages anything but a scowl; a man that showbiz has passed by. His absence from the
recent plague of Nike ads has been conspicuous - Dunga, you would imagine, wouldn't ever
play football on the beach for fear of being mistaken for someone having
fun, although it's possible that he might slide-tackle the occasional 747 down the
So there he is, plodding around the midfield, dumping glorious passes at his team-mates'
feet, picking off opposition waifs and strays, trundling up to deliver set pieces
that ought to have Roberto Carlos taking notes. With party tricks exploding all around
him, he's ignored, solitary, unique, magnificent. If he ever scores, expect him to reveal
a t-shirt that says "Just doing me job, mate".
Football isn't ice skating. Not yet, anyway. In a parallel universe, Dunga is the genius, Ronaldo is the
journeyman and Martin O'Neill was voted president of FIFA instead of Sepp Blatter.
Dunga. Sourpuss. Hero.