In South America we have a code of honour in the stadium: we never boo anyone in our team as the starting line-up is announced. Being a Corinthians supporter during the FIFA Club World Cup final last Sunday, I found it really odd when Chelsea fans insulted Rafael Benitez so enthusiastically before the match had even begun. Perhaps I would have done the same if I knew what he had to say after he lost that trophy. He is so out of touch he deserves to be bullied to the end.
I know the English aren't as interested in that title as we are in Brazil. Our teams don't play the Champions League, so having a go at your best sides is always great. But I had to take pity on Chelsea supporters for their coach on that day: he managed to make the Blues the least feared adversary South Americans had ever had in that FIFA competition. Chelsea's performance was so lame that Corinthians fans have to hear their rivals say they didn't beat anyone worthy of attention.
The respect for his choices was so little that Corinthians had more ball possession (62%-38%) until they scored, in the 69th minute (in the end it was 50%-50%). The Blues had nine shots on goal and made goalkeeper Cassio the man of the match. But the Brazilians had four shots on target, with three flying just wide. In Benitezland, the South American champions scored in the only chance they had. Even his players disagreed with him - which isn't exactly news.
Lucas Piazon said his team "lacked character". Oscar went to Twitter to say the Spaniard was "crazy" for leaving him on the bench. Both said Benitez knew nothing about Corinthians until a few days before the match - how seriously does he take his job? Others preferred to be silent. None of them endorsed what their coach had said. Some recognised the South American champions had a better strategy - a very subtle way to stress who they blamed for that defeat.
He was a great coach for Liverpool. In 2005, his team played São Paulo FC in Japan and lost 1-0. He was right then when he said the Brazilians chose to defend and scored in their only opportunity. But things have changed and they were surely different last Sunday. Benitez seems to have no clue. Even after his team showed some flair to trash Leeds, he brought the Japanese yada yada yada back: he said Chelsea would have been Club World Cup champions had they scored first.
We can never be sure about that, but I can be sure of one thing: I would have booed him just as loud as the Chelsea supporters.