The passing of John Motson marked the end of an era in English commentary. Similarly, the retirement of Galvao Bueno from his post at TV Globo marks the end of an era in Brazil. Bueno is a legendary figure in Brazil, renowned for his deep, rich voice and clever catch phrases. He was the voice of Brazil’s long awaited victory in USA 94, and was also the vice of the nation’s sporting triumphs such as the World Cup wins of 1994 and 2002, and the Formula One triumphs of Ayrton Senna.
Bueno has no parallels in terms of his importance to Brazilian broadcasting. He is a powerful voice of Brazilian nationalism that best expresses itself on the football field. He is known for his criticism of weaker opponents, and for his enthusiasm when Brazil score. His commentary can even get nasty when Brazil are in trouble, such as when he was angry that Brazilian defenders did not try harder to kick Diego Maradona in 1990.
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. This match may have marked the last time he commentates on a Brazil game in a World Cup, as his original intention was to retire after the tournament at home in 2014. However, Brazil’s astonishing 7-1 collapse against Germany in the semi final forced him to rethink his retirement.
Now 72, Bueno has stepped down from his post at TV Globo after Brazil’s quarter final elimination this year. Although streaming sites may invite him back for the occasional big event, an era has come to an end in Brazil. The world has not heard the last of him, but they think it’s all over – and it is now.