Brazil: the talent factory 2010 featuring Eron, Casemiro, Lucas Moura, Alan Patrick, Bernardo, Elkeson and Neto Berola
Mid-September. The pitches are lush; the stadiums are full(ish) because most of the major football competitions around the world have only recently kicked off. The situation in Brazil, however, could not be more different. The football season here started way back in January with the Copa São Paulo Júnior (Brazil’s biggest youth tournament) and then the local state championships. The national league – the Campeonato Brasileiro – has already passed the halfway stage. Throw in the Libertadores, the Copa do Brasil, and the Sul Americana and it will come as no surprise to learn that some clubs have already clocked up more than 50 games and there’s still another 15 matches to go in the league.
With an endless stream of games, players get lots of exposure. There are almost six months of football before the European transfer window opens in July/August. That means plenty of opportunities for foreign scouts or investment groups to get a good idea of who could be the next big thing coming out of Brazil. Once a player is identified and signed up, the well-oiled hype machine – created (we assume) by agents and investors all keen to get a quick return on their layout – goes into overdrive. Douglas Costa was regarded as a massive star outside Brazil. But anyone who had actually seen his performances for Grêmio (now Shakhtar Donetsk) wondered what the fuss was all about. The same can be said of Wellington Silva who has been signed by Arsenal struggles to get into the first team at Fluminense.
This trend of signing players who have yet to make a first team appearance or have played a handful of times is set to increase. 19-year-old André Ribeiro played 46 games for Santos before being snapped up by Dynamo Kiev for €8 million (he was later called up to Brazil in Mano Menezes’ first squad). After negotiations involving Traffic and KGM Sports, Atlético Mineiro’s João Pedro Geraldino dos Santos Galvã was whisked off to Palermo for €2.45 million after making just 15 appearances for Galo. Clearly, Dynamo and Palermo are taking a bit of a gamble on their respective purchases. But the relatively low fees mean that the Europeans are likely to get a good return on their investments.
Brazilian clubs have finally reacted to this development in the market and as a result have begun to slap enormously inflated price tags on the heads of their youngsters. Take Internacional’s Eduardo Sasha – the Porto Alegre club have put a €40 million buyout clause into his contract and he’s only just made his debut for the team (0-0 vs Goiás 12th September). Inter are also desperate to tie teenager Andrigo Oliveira de Araújo to the club. The 15-year-old recently took part in a youth tournament in the UK and apparently is already being courted by Manchester United and Barcelona.
It’s not only the number of games that provides so much exposure. Player turnover at the clubs is relentless and bewildering. Because of short contracts, footballers come and go at an alarming rate and it’s not unusual to see entire first teams change in the space of twelve months. On 29th August 2010, Atlético Mineiro lost to Palmeiras 2-1 in round 17 of the Brasileiro. Of the teams that met in round 18 on 12th August 2009, only Marcos, Maurício Ramos, Pierre, and Danilo were still in the Palmeiras line up. Staggeringly, Werley was the only survivor for Atlético. This chopping and changing, though thoroughly disruptive, does throw up opportunities for young players to come through the ranks. And this leads us to my picks for this year’s Brazil: the talent factory post.
Naturally, I’ve avoided including players listed in FootBrazil’s Top Ten Young Talents, which features Dentinho, Mazola, Jucilei, Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Bruno César, Zé Eduardo, Giuliano, Rafael Tolói and Leandro Damião. I should be posting the video on this site shortly. So, keep an eye out for that. (Now on the site)
In no particular order, here’s the list of the players that have made the Talent Factory in 2010. My first choice is a left-back at Atlético Mineiro. Eron made his debut in the 0-0 draw away at Flamengo at the end of August this year and as such is a real long shot. He’s been called up by Brazil at the junior levels but to date, the 18-year-old has appeared just five times for the pros at Atlético. I’ve been able to watch most of his games and Eron made an impression. The teenager is speedy, willing to take on the opposition and extremely confident. Coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo has picked Eron ahead of the more experienced Leandro Silva. But with Galo struggling at the wrong end of the Brasileiro, let’s hope Eron isn’t sacrificed as Luxemburgo tries to steady his sinking ship.
Full name: Eron Santos Lourenço; Position: left back; DOB: 17/1/92; Club: Atlético Mineiro
Now on to two players being given a chance at São Paulo. Since former youth team coach, Sergio Baresi, took over at the Morumbi, he’s promised to speed up the process of getting more athletes from the club’s football academy into the first team. Defensive midfielder Casemiro made his debut vs Santos in July under then coach Ricardo Gomes. Even though he’s only 18-years-old, Casemiro is already pretty robust and is making an impact with the starters. Solid in the tackle and with an intimidating physical presence, Casemiro has already struck twice (both from corners). The midfielder displays a maturity well beyond his years. As well as being able to break up opposition moves, Casemiro has the accuracy to hit long killer passes. São Paulo believe he’s one of the most promising players to come out of their training centre at Cotia since their former centreback Breno. The defender played one season for the Tricolor before being whisked off to Bayern Munich at the end of 2007. Casemiro has a contract to 2015. See him in action here making a crunching tackle on Botafogo’s Marcelo Mattos and here scoring against Atlético Mineiro
Full name: Carlos Henrique Casimiro; Position: midfielder; DOB: 23/02/92; Height: 1.84m; Weight: 80kg; Clubs: São Paulo, Brazil U17s links
Further up the field is team-mate Lucas (or as he used to be known; Marcelinho). I’d better get this cleared up first. The player’s real name is Lucas but he picked up the nickname of Marcelinho after going to Marcelinho Carioca’s football school. The teenager made his debut in August vs Atlético Paranaense as Marcelinho. But halfway through September announced that he wanted to be called Lucas. The Morumbi man has just turned 18 and is exactly the type of attacking midfielder that São Paulo have been lacking for a number of years. Lithe, speedy and with a bag of tricks that will worry even the most experienced defenders, Lucas is an exciting prospect. Captain Rógerio Ceni has already said the youngster is fundamental to São Paulo and added that he believes Lucas is one of the most talented midfielders to play for the club since Kaká and Júlio Baptista. With so many left-footers at São Paulo (Richarlyson, Jorge Vagner, Julio César, Marlos, Fernandinho) Lucas also provides some much-needed balance to the Tricolor frontline. See him here scoring against Atlético Mineiro and here Casemiro starts the move, Lucas does the magic, Fernandão scores and scoring against Palmeirasyesterday.
Watch FootBrazil’s video feature on Lucas Moura here
Full name: Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva; Position: midfielder; DOB: 13/08/92; Height: 1.72m; Weight: 66kg; Clubs: Corinthians juniors, São Paulo
Where would this list be without naming at least one Santos player? I was tempted to go for Alex Sandro. But as one left-back has already been mentioned, I settled on 19-year-old Alan Patrick . The midfielder got his first chance at Santos at the end of 2009 with former coach, Vanderlei Luxemburgo. At the time of writing, Patrick has made just 12 appearances but already has two goals to his name. Despite the small number of games, Santos rate Patrick so highly that they’ve already earmarked him as a long-term replacement for Paulo Henrique Ganso. But the Vila Belmiro club are not the only ones to have spotted something in the teenager. Shakhtar Donetsk are said to have offered €5 million for his services. Santos turned it down flat, extended his contract until 2014 and slapped a buyout clause of €20 million on his head. See him in action scoring here against Goiás and against Ferroviário
Watch FootBrazil’s interview with the player here
Full name: Alan Patrick Lourenço; Position: midfielder; DOB: 13/05/91; Height: 1.77m; Weight: 68kg; Clubs: Santos, Brazil U19s
Goiás may be struggling near the bottom of the Brasileiro but their 20-year-old attacking midfielder, Bernardo , is starting to show his potential. With Goiás in deep trouble, one could forgive a player of his age if he went into hiding on the pitch. But this is not the case with Bernardo who remains ball hungry. Despite having more experienced players up front, Bernardo is often the club’s penalty taker. That’s not surprising as he can strike the ball exceptionally well. This ability has also made him his side’s freekick taker. With Cruzeiro’s youth team in 2009, Bernardo finished top scorer of the Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior with 9 goals. But promotion to the senior side came in part to the large number of injuries at the Belo Horizonte club. His spell with the first team came earlier than intended and Bernardo wasn’t quite ready. Cruzeiro saw his potential but realized that a spell at a club where he could get more regular first team action would do him good. Bernardo is getting plenty of playing time and though 5 goals is a relatively modest haul, he is the top scorer at Goiás. See him here scoring against Avaí and a long-range shot against Santos
Full name: Bernardo Vieira de Souza; Position: midfielder; DOB: 20/05/1990; Height: 1.77m; Weight: 70kg; Clubs: Cruzeiro, Goiás (loan), Brazil U15s-19s
Vitória’s Elkeson is another freekick specialist. The 21-year-old already has two years’ experience under his belt and is a born entertainer. Elkeson loves the chapéu (literally ‘hat’ – the act of flicking the ball over another player) and is not afraid to take shots with his weaker foot (left). The midfielder was a ‘gato’ (literally ‘cat’ – a player who says he’s older than he actually is to try to gain an advantage in the junior teams). In Elkeson’s case he was 13 when he falsified his documents to appear two years younger. Vitória found out but kept him on. And the misdemeanour didn’t stop Benfica buying 50% of his economic rights two years ago. See him scoring from a freekick here and doing a chapéu here
Full name: Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso; Position: midfielder; DOB: 13/07/1989; Height: 1.79m; Weight: 75kg; Club: Vitória
At 22, Neto Berola is slightly older than the other players mentioned in my list. Berola performed well at Vitória last season, and under the tutelage of Vanderlei Luxemburgo, looks even better at Atlético Mineiro. Berola is one of the most exciting players I’ve seen this season. What makes him so good to watch are his attacking runs. The midfielder is not afraid to take on more than one defender and has the close control to dribble his way through the tightest defences. Throw in his shooting ability and it’s easy to envisage Berola making an impact on a bigger stage before too long. For now though, the player’s immediate future is with Galo who were smart in signing him on a three year deal after picking up 80% of his economic rights. See him here chipping Palmeiras’ Marcos and whacking the woodwork vs Palmeiras
Full name: Sosthenes José Santos Salles; Position: forward; DOB: 18/11/1987; Clubs:Buerarema BA, Itabuna BA, Vitória, Atlético Mineiro
If you have spotted any over candidates for the talent factory 2010, pleaseadd your own suggestions in the comments section.
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Entry filed under: Brazil: the talent factory, Lucas Moura. Tags: Alan Patrick Lourenço, Alan Patrick Santos, Alex Sandro, Andrigo Internacional, Andrigo Oliveira de Araújo and Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Bernardo and Santos, Bernardo and Vasco, Bernardo Goiás, Bernardo Vieira de Souza, Brazil young talents, Brazilian new young footballers, Brazilian prodigy, Brazilian teenager Andrigo, Breno, Breno and Bayern Munich, Carlos Henrique Casimiro, Casemiro and Castilla, Casemiro and Real Madrid, Casemiro São Paulo, Chelsea, Douglas Costa, Eduardo Sasha, Eduardo Sasha Internacional, Elkeson and AC Milan, Elkeson and Atletico Madrid, Elkeson and Bologna, Elkeson and Botafogo, Elkeson and Guanghzou Evergrande, Elkeson and Guangzhou Evergrande, Elkeson and Juventus, Elkeson and Palmeiras, Elkeson and Santos, Elkeson and Shaktar Donestk, Elkeson de Oliveira Cardoso, Elkeson e Botafogo, Elkeson e Santos, Elkeson Vitória, Eron Atlético Mineiro, Eron Santos Lourenço, FIFA's players to watch in 2011, Guangzhou Evergrande, Lucas Moura, Lucas Moura and Barcelona, Lucas Moura and Chelsea, Lucas Moura and Manchester City, Lucas Moura and Manchester United, Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva, Lucas São Paulo, Manchester City, Manchester United, Marcelinho São Paulo, Neto Berola, Neto Berola Atlético Mineiro, new Ronaldo, real madrid, Sosthenes José Santos Salles, Talented Brazilian players.