Football: Rogerio joins the 'Bulldog' breed

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The Independent Online
That growing cadre of South American goalkeepers with the sort of deft touch from the dead ball of which Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola would be proud has a new member in its ranks.

Rogerio, the Sao Paulo goalkeeper, scored with a spectacular free-kick as his team drew 4-4 with Parana in the Brazilian championship on Sunday. Rogerio curled his effort over the Parana wall for his second goal of the competition.

Rogerio, however, still has some way to go to catch the trendsetter, the Paraguayan Jose Luis Chilavert. Known to his fans as the "Bulldog", Chilavert has scored more than 30 goals during his career.

Sao Paulo took their goal tally to 14 in their last three games but their surge came too late to earn them a place in the last eight as the first stage of the Brazilian championship ended.

Sepp Blatter, the general secretary of Fifa, the game's world governing body, has again called for a ban on sliding tackles, a proposal that merited some derision a month ago when it was first suggested. "I make no apologies for returning to the same theme," he says in this month's edition of Fifa News, published yesterday.

Blatter says that "reckless tackling, and especially sliding tackles" are dangerous not only because they can end the careers of players such as Marco Van Basten, but also of a Saturday afternoon park player.

Van Basten, the former Milan and Netherlands international striker, was repeatedly on the wrong end of heavy tackles, which forced him to retire in 1995 because of an ankle injury.

"While the ankles of an international star striker may be worth several million dollars, those of a Saturday afternoon park player are no less valuable to their owner. They deserve no less attention," Blatter said.

"So when we wonder if reckless tackling, and especially sliding tackles should be curbed further still, it is also with Mr Average Player in mind.

"After all, he is less adroit at keeping out of trouble than the trained professional. And many a park amateur bone-grinder can be just as damaging as a hardened pro when it comes to handing out rough treatment."

In the article, headlined "One Set of Rules", Blatter suggests that players, of all standards, should be protected from the tackle from behind and that while clean tackling for the ball is an integral part of the game, the sliding tackle remains a cause for concern.

He says Fifa is on its way to eliminating the tackle from behind, but asks: "When is behind not behind ?

"Must the offender be coming in from a true 180 degree angle to be punished, or is he equally culpable, as the challenge may be just as dangerous, if he comes in from a few degrees off true north?

"Such fine points invariably invoke references to the spirit of the law rather than the letter. And the spirit must aim at protecting players who try to use their skills."

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