A Brazilian columnist and TV reporter thought he hit the jackpot: he was seated on a plane next to the coach and star player of the host country's national team in the middle of the World Cup. So, during the flight from Rio to Sao Paolo, Mario Sergio Conti asked a few questions and wrote a column that at least two newspapers published. Turns out, the men were just a couple of dudes who looked like coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and international superstar and hair innovator Neymar.
Conti, a widely circulated columnist in Brazil, thought he scored an exclusive interview with the coach known as Felipao and wrote up the column after his Wednesday flight. Unfortunately, Conti actually spoke with Wladimir Palomo who, according to his Facebook page, is the official doppelganger of Felipao.
Palomo, who never introduced himself as the coach, was leaving Rio after appearing on a TV show where he portrayed the coach. After the interview, he gave Conti his card which listed his real name and look-alike status, but Conti thought it was the real coach making a joke. While that sounds pretty awful on Conti's part, remember that Palomo was also travelling with a Neymar look-alike. What are the chances that two different Brazilian soccer doppelgangers were travelling together in Brazil? The resemblance is definitely there, maybe Conti gets a little bit of a break for just assuming.
According to Palomo, he did not know he was being interviewed and the journalist only identified himself as such when they arrived at Sao Paulo.
In the 'interview' he praised Neymar's performance and expressed surprise that world champions Spain had been eliminated. He also said Brazil's draw against Mexico was useful to ward off the idea that winning a World Cup could be easy.
"For me, we were just chatting and I gave him my personal opinion about the tournament and the national team, as anyone would. Everyone is a coach in Brazil during the World Cup."
Things soon fell apart, however, when it came out that the real Felipao had not yet left Fortaleza where Brazil and Mexico played to 0-0 draw on Tuesday. Then people started asking questions and Conti had to face the cold truth.
"It was a mistake: I really thought he was Felipao. But there was no bad faith involved. At least this mistake has not harmed anyone, it has not influenced the elections or hit the stock markets," Conti told a reporter from Folha.
Photo via BBC