‘Fake Scolari’ interview leaves Brazil bemused

Rio de Janeiro : The experienced columnist and TV presenter Mario Sergio Conti thought his luck was in last Wednesday, when he boarded a flight from Rio to Sao Paulo only to discover that Luiz Felipe Scolari, the current Brazilian coach widely known in Brazil as Felipao, was sitting next to him.According to the BBC website, the man answered some of his questions and an interview was published on the website of two of the leading newspapers in Brazil where Conti writes occasional columns.

The problem was that the passenger at Conti’s side was not the real Scolari, but a look-a-like called Wladimir Palomo, who had gone to Rio to take part in a TV comedy programme – where naturally, he plays Scolari. “Everything was a huge misunderstanding,” Palomo told the BBC on Friday.

After it emerged that the real Felipao had not left Fortaleza – where Brazil played against Mexico on Tuesday – the two newspapers had to apologise for the mistake.

The look-a-like said he had not presented himself as Scolari so he thought Conti knew that he was not talking to the Brazilian coach. “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.

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