The Next Generation Of Samba Stars
27th of March 2011 the boys from Brazil entered our home capital with a fresh new look about them. They entered the Emirates Stadium in a bid to impress the English fans, as they were facing Craig Levein’s Scotland side in an international friendly. Brazil came into the game with a revamped squad full of teenage quantities, a much different look of the side what failed to make an impact at the 2010 World Cup. You could well claim that the coach at that period of time in Dunga, decided to opt for a dated squad rather than the players we were seeing on the field for the Scotland friendly, players like Juan, Luis Fabiano and Kaka were not called upon by new head coach Mano Menezes, but we were seeing a whole new host of talent such as Jadson of Uefa Champions league quarter finalists Shakhtar Donetsk, while young goalscoring prodigy’s of Leandro Damiao and Neymar started in attack. Brazil opted to field an experienced defence, aswell as world class goalkeeper Julio Cesar between the sticks, but on the bench the South American outfit was relishing with bright young talent. 23 year old Renato Augusto entered the field in the last remaining minutes, aswell as La Liga pair of Elias and Jonas.
They just played like the Brazil we have known for many of years, as this team look all set to follow in the footsteps of the Brazil greats of the 1970’s and 2000’s. Legendary frontman in Ronaldo of course announced his retirement from football at the end of last month. His goalscoring record for Brazil just speaks for itself 97 games and 62 goals is an astonishing feat for one of the greatest ever strikers this modern era has ever seen, I can safely say that players like Pele and Ronaldo will be hoping that players like Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Alexandre Pato can follow in their footsteps.
Neymar especially seems to be heading in that direction, as yesterday’s friendly couldn’t have come at a better time, with teams of Chelsea and Real Madrid’s stature rumoured to be interested in the 19 year old. One of the most talented footballers in Brazil at the moment, Neymar posses a range of quality skills such as his dribbling, sprinting and finishing, three attributes that he mastered to perfection yesterday afternoon. He had the Scottish defence in a spin for most of the game, as he opened the scoring on 42 minutes, in the second half he added his second of the game as he converted a penalty after he was fouled by highly wanted Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam.
Neymar is just one of the next generation of Brazilian players, as mentioned above fellow strike partner Leandro Damiao, Renato Augusto and Elias were all involved in the action. After his incredible performance against Scotland, young Neymar has already been touted as the next Pele; after all he still is only 19, can score goals on a regular basis and has all the skills that a Brazilian player should have. In other positions it seems Brazil are adapting through a stage in the goalkeeping and defensive situations, as they are looking at experience, but are also taking note of a whole host of new Samba stars aswell.
Julio Cesar has kept the number 1 jersey warm for quite a while now, just like Iker Casillas has done with his national side Spain; however the current World Cup champions have a special player in David De Gea pushing through the limelight in Europe. Brazil also has a 20 year old in Renan of Avai, who could well be next in line as the future replacement for Inter Milan’s Julio Cesar. The Brazil defence is packed with experience stars but as Lucio, Maicon and Juan are coming towards the end of their international careers, coach Mano Menezes has to start looking to the future sooner rather than later, as the centre back partnership of Lucio and Juan seems to be coming to a slow but emphatic end. Menezes will look no further than David Luiz, the 23 year old has already hit the heights at Chelsea Football club after his move from Benfica in January, he can play anywhere across the back four and has already received praise from many English pundits. Brazil of course have players such as Rafael, Marcelo and Breno who could well be following in the footsteps of Roberto Carlos and Cafu.
Onto the midfield and like all other positions Brazil have a whole host of skilled youngsters who are now breaking through. The midfield at the World Cup seemed to be dated with the likes of Kaka, Gilberto Silva and Elano holding the fork in the centre of midfield. This was a midfield however which seemed to be going slowly into extinction; Kaka hasn’t found his form which rewarded him with the Fifa player of the year in 2007. While Gilberto Silva who pulled the defensive strings in midfield is deteriorating on the wrong side of 30, but this is where the new breed of attacking flare comes from Brazil. Sandro of Tottenham Hotspur looked like the complete package in the Champions League game against AC Milan; he was awarded with the man of the match award at White Hart Lane, as he played a pivotal role in the centre of the park. With Sandro the possible future of the more defensive role, Santos star Ganso could well be the next sensation of the Brazil attacking midfield role, he wasn’t part of the squad for the friendly against Scotland but he could well be the right replacement for Kaka, both players have similar playing styles, and Ganso loves to unlock defences and stray the ball around the field for fun.
On the wings 18 year old Philippe Coutinho of Inter Milan has certainly caught people’s attentions this season, at such a young age like fellow breakthrough player Neymar, Coutinho could well be the future of Brazilian football. The 18 year old is in the same mould as Ronaldinho a skillful winger with bags of pace and exquisite tricks; meanwhile another teenage prodigy in Lucas (not Lucas Leiva), but a young attacking midfielder who is currently plying his trade for top Brazilian side Sao Paulo. Lucas was part of the midfield which passed Scotland off the park yesterday, and only 18 years of age he has been listed as a player to watch in 2011, Coutinho and Lucas could be the future duo of skilled and paced wing play. Lastly Brazil’s potential to produce the next Ronaldo, Pele and Romario’s of this footballing World is definitely in full shape, Neymar, Damiao, Pato and Andre are all still young while players such as Nilmar, Hulk and Diego Tardelli will be around for some time yet.
Overall after yesterday’s performance against Scotland and under new management with Menezes now in charge, the next generation of Samba stars are slowly appearing in front of our eyes. The great Brazil side of 2002 could well be re mastered in the year 2014, as the World Cup itself will be hosted in the country of the famous Samba dancing and luscious sandy beaches, the 2014 World Cup is no better place to see the next crop of Brazilians emerge.
Could this be the Brazil side of the future?
Rafael David Luiz Breno Marcelo
Coutinho Sandro Ganso Lucas
This is exciting times for the country of Brazil, they have some of the best talents in World football coming through, and they are hosting the magical World Cup in three years time. The future of football looks bright the future of football looks yellow.