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REMEMBER HIM?

How Brazil’s only striker at the last World Cup became the nation’s punching bag

His performance in the semi-final against Germany is remembered as one of the worst in World Cup history

He ranks below Hulk in the list of Brazilians who go only by one name.

Brazil came into the 2014 World Cup with the hopes of an entire nation weighing heavily on their shoulders.

In order to be crowned world champions, manager Luiz Felipe Scolari would need a world class striker to call on, one who struck fear into the hearts of defenders and was capable of scoring goals for fun.


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“I need someone to score seven goals for me!”

AFP
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“I need someone to score seven goals for me!”

So, who would be the new main man?

Who would be the one trusted to take up the role as Brazil’s starting striker, joining a host of illustrious names, including greats such as, Ronaldo, Adriano and Pele?

Answer… Fred.

The man, the myth, the legend

PA:Empics Sport
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The man, the myth, the legend

The Fluminense striker was not widely known by fans outside of Brazil, but he actually came into the tournament in respectable form.

Fred had just played a key role in Brazil’s Confederations Cup triumph in 2013, finishing the tournament as the joint top scorer with five goals.

Brazil’s latest No9 continued his good form by scoring in the final friendly for Scolari’s men before the World Cup and everyone had high hopes for the striker.

Absolute bloody goal machine

EPA
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Absolute bloody goal machine

He had even scored against England in Brazil’s 2-1 friendly defeat at Wembley in 2013.

The home of football was blessed to welcome such a talent and we didn’t even realise it.

It’s not easy to score against Joe Hart

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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It’s not easy to score against Joe Hart

What would unfold however for Fred at the World Cup reads like a nightmarish tale, with his name now forever entrenched in World Cup history for all the wrong reasons.

Brazil laboured to a rather fortunate 3-1 win over Croatia in the opening game of the tournament in 2014, with their lone-striker playing the entire 90 minutes.

Fred failed to have any real impact on the game, but he did register a token assist, after he was fouled by Dejan Lovren and won his side a penalty. Prolific.

Disgusting from Lovren. He should never play again. Wow. So bad

EPA
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Disgusting from Lovren. He should never play again. Wow. So bad

Sclolari had to rely on a supurb individual performance from Neymar to spare his blushes, after Croatia had taken a shock lead.

Brazil continued their less than convincing campaign start, when they slumped to a 0-0 stalemate against Mexico.

Fred was hooked off after 68 minutes of pure, unadulterated s**t, with Manchester City legend Jo (yes, that guy), replacing him. How embarrassing.

This man’s story gives us all hope that we can also make it as a footballer

AFP
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This man’s story gives us all hope that we can also make it as a footballer

The disdain for Fred reached fever pitch after his toothless performance against Mexico.

The Brazilian forward effectively made the career of Guillermo Ochoa that day, making him look infinitely better than he actually is.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Action Images - Reuters
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YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Fred went some way to silencing his doubters in the next group game, playing the whole 90 minutes and scoring the third in Brazil’s 4-1 win over Cameron, a result which sealed their progression to the knockout stages.

The heavily-criticised forward expertly tucked home his header (we won’t tell you how he was marginally offside), after he was picked out by David Luiz.

Rose like an absolute bloody salmon

AP:Associated Press
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Rose like an absolute bloody salmon

Despite his new-found goal scoring antics, the damage was already done.

Brazil’s impatient supporters had already seen enough to know that Fred wasn’t up to scratch compared to his GOAT predecessors.

The ultras were baying for blood

Getty Images - Getty
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The ultras were baying for blood

The buildup to Brazil’s last sixteen clash with South American rivals Chile, was full of speculation as to whether Fred would be dropped.

His place in the starting eleven was under threat from Jo (somehow) with a system change which would see everyone’s favourite avenger, Hulk, lead the line for Scolari’s side, also much discussed.

Big Phil stuck with his man though, for all of 64 minutes against Chile, before Fred’s lack of literally anything saw him replaced again

It turns out Brazil didn’t actually fair any better with him off the pitch, as they had to relay on penalties to progress to the quarter-finals.

Name a more iconic trio, I’ll wait

EPA
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Name a more iconic trio, I’ll wait

Colombia were next up for Brazil and surely, surely, Fred had to be dropped for this one… right?

Wrong.

He somehow played the full 90 minutes in Brazil’s 2-1 win against the in-form James Rodriguez and co, with Fred surprising literally nobody when he failed to find the net once again.

The hosts had to relay on Thiago Silva and Luiz to score the goals to get them through, with the latter, a centre back, notching up his second of the tournament and surpassing Fred in the goals department.

He just can’t hear the #haters

AFP
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He just can’t hear the #haters

A tournament-ending injury to Neymar left Brazil very much in the lurch, with Fred effectively guaranteed of a starting spot in the semi-finals against Germany

We all know the monumental collapse that Brazil suffered, losing 7-1 and registering the biggest defeat in their history since 1920.

The performance of Fred on that disastrous night in Belo Horizonte however, also has its own place in World Cup folklore… hold onto your hats.

For once the defence was just as bad as Fred

Getty - Contributor
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For once the defence was just as bad as Fred

The striker was continuously booed during the 7-1 embarrassment, whenever he touched the ball (which wasn’t a lot) and even when his face appeared on the big screens inside the stadium.

What little patience there was for Fred had well and truly been lost, which, when you take a look at his heatmap from the humiliating night, doesn’t leave you entirely surprised.

*Those of a nervous disposition when subjected to questionable heatmaps, look away now* 

Iconic stuff

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Iconic stuff

Fred failed to touch the ball once in the Germany penalty area, with many of his touches coming only to restart the play from the centre circle, as Brazil shipped goals for fun.

According to Opta, Fred had only one shot during the match and didn’t register a single tackle, cross, run or interception during the 69 minutes he spent on the pitch.

The striker, in name only, completed 15 of his 21 pass attempts.

After Andre Schurrle netted Germany’s sixth of the night, Fred left the pitch along with hoards on Brazil fans who filtered out of stands.

They know that they let Fred down

Getty - Contributor
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They know that they let Fred down

Scolari finally saw the light and dropped Fred for their third place playoff match against Holland.

Jo produced nothing in Fred’s absence and Brazil were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Louis van Gaal’s men.

That humiliating night against Germany was the last outing for Fred in a Brazil shirt.

After 15 goals in 33 caps, he announced his retired from international football after the tournament. The footballing world mourned.

“Thank you, you taught me everything I know”

Reuters
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“Thank you, you taught me everything I know”

Fred’s place in Brazilian folklore is now under threat by another Fred, who actually happens to be quite good.

The Shaktar Donetsk midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League this summer.

Rumour has it that his parents actually named him after the original Fred.

You’re not fooling me, you absolute fraud

Getty - Contributor
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You’re not fooling me, you absolute fraud

He’ll never have our hearts though, not like the *real* Fred did.

“Feel like pure s**t, just want Fred back”

AFP - Getty
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“Feel like pure s**t, just want Fred back”

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