Angelo Canuto, 45, smiles when he hears that nothing can be more different than life in prison and football.
"It's more similar than you think," he says.
The comparison sounds strange because the best-known image of professional football is glamor, money, and other luxuries. “In jail you can have all that too,” he replies.
A soccer businessman who dealt with major clubs in the country, Canuto was arrested in 2014 as one of the leaders of a criminal organization that trafficked cocaine for Port of Santos. He denies this charge.
“If I were that, I wouldn't be here to tell this story. I was never a head of trafficking in the port of Santos. I was convicted of criminal organization, not trafficking. Have I done something wrong? I did. Too much wrong. But in this operation, no, ”he says.
The phrase is in several excerpts from “Extracampo in the Prison of Prison”, a book written by Canuto and released in September by the Recriar publisher. He exposes the thought that lives in football and in a penitentiary may be closer than people realize.
The businessman was four and a half years in prison. He left in August 2018. The attacker Luciano, his main client, also suffered with the case. Corinthians. He had to live with the innuendo that he knew everything and was advised not to visit him.
When Canuto left the CDP (Provisional Detention Center) in Pinheiros, São Paulo, he saw that the player was dissatisfied in Fluminense, with back pay. He managed to get a proposal and the took to the Guild.
“Luciano is a player of Elenko (Sports, agency company). I am someone he trusts. But I allow him the reflections. He is the one who decides. I'm someone he listens to as a father, because I took him to Corinthians, ”he says.
Canuto uses this example and the problems the player has had with other business owners to show how their views can be misrepresented. In jail, you can get good advice. In football, it is very common that this does not happen. He then begins telling one story after another to prove that he is right.
“The poor black boy from the periphery, when it doesn't work in football or samba, has a penitentiary waiting for him with open arms. You have to be careful because it is a volcano mouth and you fall into it if it becomes unbalanced. "
Approved in a sieve to play in Portuguese as a child, Canuto had to give up. The Guaianases train station underwent renovation which made it more difficult for him to jump over the wall and board without a ticket. His family could not afford the transportation.
The chance to get close to football came at age 20 in 1993, when it passed a contest to be a police officer. He chose to go to the 2nd Battalion of the Shock Troop, which polices departures in Sao Paulo.
He left the PM in 1997, accused of extortion by kidnapping. Convicted, he was a fugitive in the Baixada Santista. He was arrested in 2001 when crossing the ferry from Guarujá to Santos.
Canuto remained in jail for 10 years. He passed 17 penitentiaries, some of them of maximum security, and met Marcola, leader of the CCP.
He tried to escape several times, he said, and considered killing himself. The situation got better in the last four years of the sentence, when it was possible to progress to the semi-open regime. He had the opportunity to go to study and only sleep in jail and majored in business administration.
“My dream has always been to be in the football world. I met players, started being a businessman and started an MBA course in sports management and marketing, ”he says.
In the last year of graduate school, he was arrested for the traffic scheme at the Port of Santos. At the time, he was already a businessman of professional athletes and had opening in major Brazilian Serie A clubs, such as Corinthians, Avaí, Grêmio and cruise.
His version for the prosecution is that one of his partners in a company that specializes in door-to-door deliveries in hazardous areas was involved in the scheme, but not him.
“My company did not seal containers (used to carry the drug). It was not maritime modal. The police thought I stuffed a container, but my company was in the east of São Paulo, ”he says.
The rationale behind the business model was to re-enter former detainees into society and hire them to make deliveries because they would be able to enter the favelas to carry them out. With the money he earned, he started another company to make artist shows possible.
He met rapper Drexter, whom he became friends with and was best man at the wedding. Canuto guarantees that his nickname of "godfather" in the ball world, seen as something mobster, comes from there. He produced other concerts and began contacting players in nightclub cabins. It was the open door to return to football before being arrested a second time.
In the penitentiary, he was wanted by boys who believed he could help them become professional fins. “I was tired of being in the mud. I had become a football entrepreneur and wanted to be someone. Do something good in my life. "
That was when the idea for the book came up, handwritten in a leafy binder that he used to write letters to his wife, Patricia, with whom he has been married for 25 years. Canuto has a daughter, Brenda, and two granddaughters: Manuela and Marcela.
Upon leaving prison, he created Phoenix Sports. The image of the animal that is reborn from the ashes is for him, but also for what he believes to be his specialty: recovering talented but unmotivated athletes.
For now, it has 12 clients. Gives talks to companies, trade unions and football clubs. He recorded nearly two hours of testimony for what he believes could be a TV series about a prison escape plan.
He has also received offers to write a biography in which he would tell everything he knows and saw in the criminal world, in the police and in football. This he is not yet ready to accept, but recognizes that it would be a great story.
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