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John BarnesMaracana Magic


John Charles Bryan Barnes MBE, was born 7 November 1963 in Kingston, Jamaica, and is widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the history of English domestic league football.

The English national side had missed out on a place at Euro 84, and as a result embarked on small tour of South America. The highlight of the trip was most definitely a 2-0 victory in Rio's Maracanã Stadium, where John Barnes' crafted an unforgettable 'Brazilian style' goal. Brazil, without some of their big names such as Zico and Socrates, were still a formidable side and undefeated in the Maracanã since the 1960s.

England claimed their historic victory with eight seconds of individual magic by Barnes. He received the ball on the halfway line and went on a mesmeric run, gliding past what seemed to be the whole Brazilian team, and calmly guiding a right-footed shot into the net from ten yards. Barnes has always maintained that scoring the goal had been like an out of body experience, almost as though he had been in a trance.

There is an underground spiritual religion (vodoo) in Brazil known as ‘Macumba’ which is secretly practiced in Rio. One of the purposes of Macumba is to possess a person through sorcery and ritual dance. Perhaps Barnes had been possessed by a 'Macumba- like' trance during his '8 seconds of Maracanã magic'?

A truly gifted player, his goal should have been the jewel in the crown of a glittering international career. Unfortunately for Barnes, from that moment on, whenever he pulled on an England shirt, the 8 seconds of magic seemed more of a curse than a source of inspiration. In a domestic career that resulted in legendary status with Liverpool, Barnes was never quite able to recreate the magical moment of the Maracanã in a total 79 appearances for his country.

'I don't remember much about my goal. I always liken it to an out-of-body experience. I look at it on TV now and I can't remember doing any of it. None of it was planned, it was just instinct and reaction, and I didn't know exactly what I was doing.'
John Barnes

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