‘Brazilian Motson’ Bueno was a national treasure before World Cup retirement

“THEY think it’s all over…. it is now!” is a folk memory from the 1966 World Cup – as long as you are English.

Other nationalities heard different commentaries. All over the planet everyone sees the same images from a World Cup match or a crunch tie in the Champions League.


Galvao Bueno, left, is as renowned to Brazil’s TV audiences as John Motson was in EnglandCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

But if the pictures are the same, the words, and the tone in which they are spoken, are not. The global game is enjoyed on a national basis.

The late John Motson, for example, is an icon in England, and maybe in other countries that receive English commentary.

But he was not well known elsewhere, and the same applies to foreign versions of ‘Motty.’

In the week that John Motson sadly passed away, there was a story in Brazil that the local version of him had died. It was fake news.

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Galvao Bueno had not died in a car accident, and he gleefully appeared to explain that rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated.

If anything, comparing Galvao Bueno to Motson does not do full justice to the importance of the Brazilian commentator.

This is no lack of respect to the extraordinary career of Motson. It is a recognition of the power of Galvao Bueno behind a microphone.

First, Motson had others on a similar level – the likes of Barry Davies and the great Brian Moore at one point, Martin Tyler later. Bueno has no parallels.

And he is also the vice of a nation and its sporting triumphs – the World Cup wins of 1994 and 2002 plus the Formula One triumphs of Ayrton Senna – in a way that marks him out as one of the most important figures in the history of Brazilian broadcasting.

Now 72, Bueno really came into his own as the voice of Brazil’s long awaited victory in USA 94. He is a magnificent commentator, his deep, rich voice full of clever catch phrases and able to rise to glorious crescendos.

Bueno retired from commentating after the World Cup in Qatar


Bueno retired from commentating after the World Cup in QatarCredit: Getty
English speaking audiences relied on  John Motson and Barry Davies to set the scene at events


English speaking audiences relied on John Motson and Barry Davies to set the scene at eventsCredit: PA:Press Association

And also he is a well crafted voice of the kind of Brazilian nationalism that best expresses itself on the football field.

“They don’t have the same intimacy with the ball,” he will utter in condemnation of weaker opponents. And when Brazil score – “it was just a matter of getting the ball on the ground.”

When the inevitable fails to happen and Brazil are in trouble then a whine comes into his voice. It can get nasty.

Back in 1990 he was angry that Brazilian defenders did not try harder to kick Diego Maradona.

At half time in the fateful recent quarter final against Croatia he was outraged that former US international Landon Donovan had dared to criticise Brazil’s performance.

That match may well mark the last time he commentates on a Brazil game in a World Cup. His original intention was to retire after the tournament at home in 2014.

Brazil’s astonishing 7-1 collapse against Germany in the semi final forced a rethink. He could not possibly bow out at such a low point.

And so he carried on, enduring a quarter final elimination in 2018 – and then another this year, after which he stepped down from his post at TV Globo.

The world – or more accurately, Brazil – has not heard the last of him.

It was the end of the era after Bueno left TV Globo


It was the end of the era after Bueno left TV Globo

In an age of streaming sites there will always be invitations to come back for the occasional big event.

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But with Galvao Bueno leaving TV Globo an era has come to an end in Brazil – just as one came to an end in England with the passing of John Motson.

They think it’s all over – and it is now.