Atlético Goianiense manager goes missing, then not missing, then missing again

A mystery from last’s season’s Série B champions in Brazil, Atlético Goianiense

The look of a man who knows nothing good is to come of this. (Atlético-GO)

According to Globo Esporte, Marcelo Cabo got home around 2:30 a.m. on Monday from a night out with some of the club’s board of directors, only to grab his debit card (and nothing more), take his car out for a spin at 3:02 a.m. and never return.

That is, of course, until he did. At 3:48 p.m., he arrived in a taxi, without any marks or blood on him. He said hi to the doorman and went up to his apartment like no big deal. And then he got back in the taxi seven minutes later and left again.

Meanwhile, his wife and three kids had come up to Goiânia, Atlético-GO’s city, from Rio, which is Cabo’s hometown. The board of directors took shifts waiting at his apartment. And, of course, the team had training like normal because training never stops, even when you don’t know if your manager is alive.

So what did happen? A lieutenant-colonel from the Goiânia military police knows what you’re thinking and he doesn’t like it:

“This isn’t the backwoods. It’s not Rio either, where he’s from, but there’s structure here. Here, there’s a normal level of violence, day-to-day stuff, but nothing abnormal. It’s strange.”

He also knows what else you’re thinking, and he doesn’t like that either:

“He’s a guy that has habits. Either he was at Atlético-GO, or at church, or at his apartment. His life is a correct routine, which is why this is really strange to us. He doesn’t use drugs, he doesn’t have a double life. We hope nothing bad has happened.”

Members of the anti-kidnapping unit of the state civil police are also at a loss to explain what happened, although they didn’t rule out the possibility of extortion. Other “unnamed sources” (me) were sure it was an indecisive alien abduction.

Or the corn?

The military police held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce that Cabo was absolutely fine. In fact, he was located safe and sound in a motel on the outskirts of Goiânia around 7:30–8:00 p.m. Monday evening.

For context, motels in Brazil are not discount hotel alternatives; they are usually paid for by the hour and are used for one thing and one thing only. The military police would not comment on whether he was under the influence of drugs, alone or with someone else, or whether he would be fired—leaving that for the club to clean up.

Atlético-GO have announced that they will hold their own press conference Tuesday afternoon. Timitar Berbatov, however, has not responded to any request for comment.

UPDATE: Coach Cabo must have been in a real moment of midlife crisis, because a member of the Atlético-GO board of directors commented that he still hadn’t been able to meet with Cabo after the episode because he “wasn’t in any condition to talk.” In an impressive feat of euphemistic gymnastics, the director admited that Cabo’s condition “was not ideal” before adding that Cabo had never had any problems with the club in the past, had had a “perfect year,” and was a “great professional with unquestionable character.”

He’s still at home “resting and recovering,” while Atlético-GO’s meeting about his future and press conference have both been postponed until Wednesday.

Edit: He might not have kept his dignity, but he has kept his job. The Director of Football and Vice President said that “it was a serious error…but we thought about the human aspect.” Because who among us hasn’t gone missing for 40 hours and sparked a manhunt, only to turn up in a love motel?


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