Only a Brazilian footballer would utter the words praying and playing in the same breath and similar reverence. Former Manchester City player and now Chennaiyin FC Marquee player and captain Elano Blumer reveals that he loves praying and playing. The ISL that is reaching its peak soon has seen Elano’s talismanic touch for his team ever so often. Elano, they scream and he could just as well be in Brazil, as he dribbles, tackles and crosses the ball. The Brazilian attacking midfielder lives and breathes the beautiful game and Chennai is where his heart is at� which is good news for the Chennaiyin fans� But there’s so much more to this footballer who represented Brazil at their triumphs in the 2007 Copa América and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and played at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
About his love affair with Chennai, a city not really known to have many football links in the past, he says, “My time with Chennaiyin has been incredible. It is very hard to describe or express in words the love I have received here in India especially in Chennai. I enjoy playing here. Last year, we narrowly missed out on the final and this time we are working hard to reach the semis. Hopefully, we will go all the way,” says the lead goal scorer of ISL 2014, who is a playmaker in the Chennai team but has been sitting on the bench thanks to being marked so well, but happy nonetheless to see the attacking players work their wonder.
He has played at Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City and Galatasaray and along the way, nurtured his talent, learnt from the best and it’s plain to see when he starts his run, manouvreing the ball, foxing opponents and it sees the back of the net. Elano loves his family life, and while he does not get time enough, his wife Alexandra and his two daughters back home are where he truly relaxes before getting into footie mode again. About his career, the Roman Catholic says, “Yes. I am lucky to have had a good career. I share good relations with all my former clubs, especially Manchester City. It was one of the best spells of my career there.”
The Samba nation is one that produces excellent talent with such alacrity, that Elano is one among many that have gone onto to shine, and Blumer is always thankful, “The best moments in my career (playing for Brazil) have to be my debut for the national team and playing in the 2010 World Cup. All the coaches and teammates have helped shape my career. But, of course, I must mention Dunga and Carlos Roberto Parreira, the two coaches under whom I played for the national team.”
A childhood in the bylanes of Brazil saw Elano hone his talent in this playground for stars, “I always wanted to be a footballer. In Brazil as you know football is like a religion so I started playing at a very young age and thanks to hard work and luck, I was able to play for the Brazil national team one day,” says the attacking midfielder. The powerhouse on the field has his own idols in the sport he loves so much, “I have always admired Romario but I got to learn a lot from Freddy Rincon at Santos (the club he is loaned from),” says Elano.
Every footballer has his own form of relaxation, and for Elano, when he is in Brazil, “I like spending time with my family as I am away a lot. Here in India, during ISL, music, praying, playing ping pong are what keeps me happy,” he adds.
Travelling across the world, one hardly gets to see the sights and sounds of a place, but Elano is a homebody at heart, “Honestly my home in Brazil is my favourite place for a holiday. But I would love to visit England again as I made many friends there during my Manchester City stint there,” he says.
The man also likes Indian khana, which he is having oodles of at his home city, Chennai, “Cheese naan is my favourite,” says the footballer who also likes to shop, or at least window shop and spends time going to the Phoenix Mall in Chennai when ever he can. As Chennai hopes their team clinches the ISL and their lucky charm returns back for another season, Elano himself wants to get back to the Santos colours after the season is done.