My Story An Introduction To A Estrela Solitária (The Lone Star) In The Shadow Of A Flawed Genius #FM17

a114eeb0ff9384edb13a338c3ab29afeBotafogo de Futebol e Regatas or you may know them as Botafogo FC, a Brazilian football club based in the state of Rio de Janeiro. I have spent a lot of time this last FM release watching footage of Botafogo from years gone by none less so from their golden age of the 1960’s which saw the club having 5 players which was the backbone to Brazils’ 1962 World Cup winning squad, they were Nilton Santos (the worlds first wing back), Didi, Mario Zagallo, Amarildo and last but not least the remarkable Garrincha who was born with 2 bowed legs in fact one was shorter than the other but this didn’t stop him becoming one of the greatest players of all time. But it was not just these 5 that caught my eye there are many more Jairzinho, Quarentinha, Carvalho Leite, Helenio De Freitas and Gerson to name a few. Now it’s 2022 and we are….. hang on a minute I have not told you about the previous years have I ?

Before the release of FM17 I decided that Botafogo was going to be my main save to blog about however I have never got around to doing it until now. Why now? I hear you ask, well there is around 12 weeks until FM18 drops and I want to keep the blog ticking over until I start on FM18, plus I have enough writing material to take us nicely in to the new release.  Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas became my own private save that I would play one or two times a week whilst listening to a couple of podcasts or watching South American games on tv. I was taking in the passion of the game in South America whilst trying to adopt a Latin American influence in to the save. The problem was that whilst I was getting my South American fix I struggled to get in to a save that I would blog about and ended up just playing two or three seasons with a club and moving on and I think blogging the save didn’t help in fact at times I have felt it in some ways spoilt the save and got in the way of actually enjoying the game has I always sempt to feel like I had to release a post that’s why I never posted about Botafogo but kept a notebook and screenshots to track my progress through the state championships through to the continental competitions, my notebook is full of information and will make a good piece of nostalgic memory in years to come,  now I feel I can open the door to the Estadio Nilton Santos.

The Beginning 

I loaded up a huge database to give my scouts plenty of work for years to come and set a few goals and challenges for the journey ahead. Brazilian football first came in to my world in 1982 at the World Cup in Spain and their free flowing rythmic style blew me away has I watched all their games in awe of this group of players with fantastic names, Zico, Eder, Socrates, Falcao and Junior to name a few, and could these boys play, they played free flowing football whilst even looking good in the iconic kit. I remember back then I used to play Subbuteo with a friend who lived just a few doors down the road from our house and whilst my England and Spain Subbuteo teams looked good my friend had hand painted two of his teams in the colours of Cameroon and Brazil and they looked brilliant has we played out our own World Cup which I think Brazil won unlike the real version were Italy beat them in an amazing 5 goal thriller in the sun baked Estadio Sarria in Barcelona the then home of Espanyol. Now that game was a bit of a win win for me because of my love of Italian Football, but I had also been taken a back by this new distinctive samba style. Back to my world the FM Community was full of excitement with the new release and folks had started to blog about their respective saves I too started a a blog save at Eibar in Spain but I was using Botafogo has a save for me to get used to the new release because I decided to not play the beta but what started out as a test save became something special and as time went on became more and more interesting and enjoyable.

November 2015 

I started the save at the earliest possible date to give me a bit of time to get used to the squad and also have a look at how the Brazilian season runs because before the actual Serie A season kicks off you have the state Championships to play which start in January  so Botafogo play in the Rio State Championship known as Campeonato Carioca which is set up in the following format as explained on Wikipedia , the big four teams in the Carioca are Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco de Gama. I analyse the squad which is brimming with a mix of potential talent and experience. 

Meet the Fogoes (or scroll past them to see how we got on in the 2016 Rio State Championship)

I have wrote a little about a few of our players under their profile. It was hard not to say too much because I know how the years have treated these players and I did not want to give too much away.

Botafogo 1st Team Squad

squad 1

squad 2


Leandrinho or Leandro who he is known has is a top talent who I promoted to the first team squad in my first few days.  Whilst predominantly left footed Leandro is comfortable in a number of roles in the attacking midfield strata. He is my type of player and a potential Brazilian great. Watch this space…..


My club captain and the rock in front of the defence and at 26 coming in to his prime years.


What can I say about Camilo a cult hero with the fans and I love the guy, I have spent many an early hours watching him do a solid job for my side whilst I listen to Tim Vickery talking all things South American on the BBC World Football Phone In.

emerson santos

Emerson Santos one of the best defender’s I have had the pleasure to manage, if you ever want a dependable defender sign him you won’t be disappointed.


First name on the team sheet, at 21 Fernandes has the world at his feet. Another player with guile to play in a number of roles well.

igor rabello

Rabello his a rotational option in my first season but don’t be surprised to see him start consistently in the future.


Jefferson has done the club proud and been a solid performer and our first choice keeper this season.


Marcelo has the potential to be a first choice defender in the near future and can only improve with exposure to the first team and valuable game time.

renan gorne

Renan Gorne pushing our first choice front men making competition for places healthy, solid potential.


Now I know it’s late when I am writing this but Sassa has earnt a nickname from me and me only of ‘The Pele Of Botafogo’ now anybody who as spent the small hours grinding out results whist watching dots running around a screen bleary-eyed will appreciate that nickname. By the way another player who I love.


Learning his trade Andreazzi is the back up for captain Airton this season.

bruno silva

dudu cearense

emerson silva

gatito fernandez


gustavo canales

joao paulo

joel carli



luis ricardo

renan fonseca

rodrigo lindoso

rodrigo pimpao

Cracking player and link play with Sassa was something to behold, Rodrigo signed a contract extension early doors and I have seen the rewards.


victor luis

walter montillo

Botafogo Reserves Squad

reserve squad


andre luis





helton leite





matheus fernandes




victor gabriel

victor lindenberg

vinicius tanque


Botafogo Under 20 Squad

under 20 squad


andre luiz





lucas cesar


mateus 2






I went about bringing the best staff that the club could afford and to be honest I think we did well in bringing depth to the backroom team.


Board Expectation


Botafogo 1This is the first system that I used at the club it’s built to dominate both ball and space and it really suited our squads with a number of players being comfortable in a few positions. I also dabbled with the Brazilian Box 4-2-2-2 set up but I didn’t feel comfortable with it and decided that I would revisit it later in the save once I had found my feet in Brazil. In fact you will see over the course of the save that I use a number of different set ups but with all the same focus on controlling space and playing easy on the eye football, after all we are in Brazil and need to play to the rythem of the Samba. I got Rodrigo and Sassa swopping positions in game to great effect and changed the AM role to a shadow striker.

4095The shirt I purchased after taking Botafogo under my watch it’s a replica of the 1960’s shirt worn by a golden era including the great Garrincha. 



2016 Rio State Championship (Campeonato Carioca) / Copa Brazil

(Away) Flamengo D 1-1 Sassa 87

I remember racing home from work on a wet Friday evening after a less than eventful day with the thought of cracking up this Botafogo save and playing my first ever Rio State Championship game away against Flamengo who would provide a good test in the opening game. We went 0-1 down early in the first half despite dominating the play and was unlucky not to be level at the break has Walter Montillo put Roger through on goal only for the front man to find row Z in the car park never mind the stands. With us trailing at the break and Roger looking like a slapped arse I brought Sassa on for him and dropped our mentality to counter from control to try and make space behind a compact 4-2-2-2 formation that our guests had switched to from a 4-2-3-1 shortly after their goal. With the highlights on extensive I was glued to the screen and made another change after 62 minutes and brought Andreazzi on for the jaded Airton. We went close again this time it was Sassa from long range and then Sassa equalised with just 3 minutes left to give us a more than creditable 1-1 draw at one of our biggest rivals.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Home) Macaè W 1-0 Marcinho 11

Our next game was an home tie against Macaè which gave me the opportunity to rotate the whole starting XI from our opener against Flamengo which included giving young Marcinho a start at right wing back which he repaid my faith in him with a goal after just 11 minutes which ended up being the winner. We dominated but failed to convert the chances we created with Roger firing blanks.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Home) Portuguesa RJ W 5-0  Fernandes 8, Joel 23,35, Rodrigo Lindoso 65, Emerson Santos 79

We got off to a great start with Fernandes finishing after a sublime ball from Camilo who was bossing the midfield playing in a roaming playmaker role which was a change to the roles of the above tactic. We went further in front when on loan Cameroonian Joel hit a ten minute brace that sent us in at the break 3 up. We looked a different class to our Serie D opponents and added two more goals in the second period courtesy of Rodrigo Lindoso and Emerson Santos.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Away) Boavista RJ W 1-0 Roger 63 Pen

Another chance for my rotation XI to make their mark but like the Macaè game we failed to take our chances and only found the net when Roger converted a penalty after Bruno Silva was felled in the area. A note in my notebook highlights the performance of Marcelo at the centre of defence.

2016 Rio State Championship

(Home) Madureira W 4-0  Rodrigo Lindoso 50, Rodrigo Pimpão 63, 84, Leandrinho 66

A good performance has we continue our preperation’s for the regular season with a 4-0 win with Rodrigo Pimpão impressing up front with his movement which runs the Madureira defence ragged. The win puts us through to the stage 2 final were we will face our biggest test to date.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Neutral) Vasco de Gama L 0-1 

So our first test to were we are at with preparations and I decide to mix the side up a bit and I can’t fault the performance although we lost the game, I feel with a few tweaks here and there we will be alright. Sassa, Emerson Santos, Camilo and Rodrigo Pimpão are all rested but the boys who came in gave a good account of themselves with the most notable performance coming from 17 year old attacking midfielder Matheus Fernandes.

2016 Rio State Championship

(Away) Bangu W 2-0 Gustavo Canales 30,63

The 2nd phase of the Rio State Championship starts with a 2-0 win with a brace from our 34 year old Chilean front man Gustavo Canales who should provide us with a good option up top this season.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Home) Cabofriense W 3-0 Roger 2, Walter Montillo 74, Sassá 90

Now this is one of those  games that I remember playing out whilst I was listening to the BBC World Football Phone In which if you have never listened to I highly recommend. Goals from Roger, Montillo and Sassá that gave us a comfortable win has Tim Vickery talks about the Copa Libertadores that wets my appetite for another a game before I turn in for the night.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Away) Volta Redonda W 3-1 Bruno Silva 52, Rodrigo Pimpão 55, Junior Ramos o.g 84

I give a run out to a side made up of 1st team squad and reserve squad players for this game and watch our future stars mix well with our 1st team players has we win 3-1 without any problems.

2016 Rio State Championship

(Home) Fluminense W 2-1 Gustavo Canales 27, Walter Montillo 75

A nice win over one of the big 4 Rio club’s that pleases our fans especially after we trailed early doors with a goal from Scarpa who looks on fire however we get ourselves in to the game and get the reward for some entertaining football when Leandrinho threads a defence splitting pass for Canales who finshes the move in style.  We go in all level at the break and then start the second half on the front foot and get a 2nd goal via Walter Montillo  in the 75th minute after good work from Camilo who turned the defence with a chip pass that put Montillo in on goal. A very good performance and signs that we are looking ready for the Brasiliero

Copa de Perdigáo do Brasil  (Brazilian Cup) 1st rd 1st leg 

(Away) Gama W 2-1 Roger 65,66

We opened our Brazilian Cup campaign with a less than convincing 1st leg win away to Federal District League club Gama who gave us a good go. It was a quickfire 2nd half double by Roger who was our only player to come out of the game with any credit but we move on and need to put this poor performance behind us.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Away) Vasco de Gama W 2-0 Victor Luís 9, Gustavo Canales pen 31

A much improved performance away at one of our biggest rivals in a game which we limited Vasco to one shot on goal with Emerson Santos in beast mode he mopped everything up in a man of the match performance. We got off to a great start when Victor Luís netted from a Montillo free kick after 9 minutes. Gustavo Canales put the game to bed with a 31st minute penalty after a foul on Joel.

2016 Rio State Championship 

(Home) Resende D 0-0 

We finish our state championship campaign with a goalless draw which means Flamengo top our group on goal difference. I was not too upset because I played a youth team and was impressed with performances from Fernando and Amicar.

Copa de Perdigáo do Brasil  (Brazilian Cup) 1st rd 2nd leg 

(Home) Gama W 2-0  Airton 5, Sassa 62

We advance to the 2nd rd of the Brazilian Cup with an easy 2-0 win with goals from Airton and Sassa. Rodrigo Lindoso and Fernandes are our stand out performers has we go in to the Brasiliero playing an easy on the eye brand if football but will it be enough to secure us a place on the head table come December. (December is when the Brazilian season ends).

results 1

Well that’s my introduction to my favourite save on FM17 and starting to write about it makes me realise just how much I enjoyed this save and this club who have a fantastic history even if not full of honours.  My next post will cover the Brasiliero and a tactic change, since returning from my holiday I have revisited this Botafogo save has we are about to embark on season 7 the 2022 campaign.

Next Post Coming Soon ‘Brasiliero 2016’  


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