SAO PAOLO (Reuters) - Flamengo’s first-choice goalkeeper was known as Alex the Wall until Friday.
But a recent poor run has put paid to that and one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers publicly stated that the Wall had lost all right to his nickname and will now be called by his proper name, Alex Roberto.
“In the name of journalistic accuracy, readers of EXTRA will no longer find the word Wall printed in reference to Alex Roberto Santana Rafael,” the paper said in a front-page editorial.
“EXTRA promises to review its decision if Alex Roberto, ex-the Wall, deserves it.”
The use of such nicknames is common in Brazil, with players such as Pele, Garrincha and Zico, all better known by their monikers than their proper names.
But the Wall has made a series of blunders, the most recent coming in a cup loss to Parana when he let a 40-yard free kick fly past him.
The 27-year old stopper called the EXTRA editorial a “public humiliation” and declared himself “indignant” at the criticism.
But whatever they call him it appears unlikely his name will be appearing much in the paper this year. Flamengo’s recent signing of Diego Alves from Valencia means the Wall might well be spending more time on the Bench.
Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond