If we're getting technical, this was a completely absurd season for Liverpool. Most expected an outside chance at finishing in the top four, with many expecting to finish on the fringes of Champions League qualification. Then Liverpool were top at Christmas, won eleven matches in a row, and fell short on the season's final day to champions Manchester City by two points. Still, it's unclear whether that's more absurd and crazy enjoyable than Cafu--he of the winning pretty much everything imaginable at the club and international level--traveling halfway around the world to watch Jon Flanagan.
And while it was disappointing to see that Red Cafu lasted only the first 45 minutes in the 2-1 win over Newcastle, that (and the previous viewings of the young fullback's impressive season) was enough to convince the Brazilian that Flanagan has a bright future ahead of him for both club and country:
"I first started hearing about him by watching Premier League matches and observing his performance along with other players. I then started seeing some news saying he is the Red Cafu! So there's nothing better than coming to the city and taking a picture with my successor. He is a good player; still young and developing, but already gaining recognition at Liverpool and he might even have an opportunity with the English national team. He'll be a great English player in the future.
"He has speed, strength and determination. He's an athlete who goes after it and never gives it up. That's exactly what I used to do; there were no missing chances for me, no tiredness and no being dejected. I see that style in him too. I hope he continues that way and achieves as many trophies as I did."
Again, that's one of the great fullbacks in world football's recent history commenting on Jon Flanagan, who couldn't find a loan to a Football League side last fall and made the bench only twice before he was forced into first-team action in early November. Cafu might be overcooking it a bit, but it's hard to argue with the qualities he mentions, and in a season that saw Liverpool defy expectations from wire to wire, there's no better example than Flanagan earning the praise of Cafu.