Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ones to Watch....

Players who are setting the Brazilian championship alight and who could prove a a decent acquisition.....(more exhaustive profiles will be added in due course)

  • Ramires (Cruzeiro)- similar to a young Patrick Vieira. Fine tackling ability, indefatigueable, perfect as a box-to-box midfielder ( in a 4-3-1-2) or wing-back (like Jonas Gutierrez for Argentina) in a 3-5-2. Can also play as the freer of two holders in a 4-4-2/3-5-2. UPDATE: Now at Benfica in Portugal.
  • Kléber (Cruzeiro)- similar to a young Del Piero (when he still had pace) or a Sergio Aguero, with shades of David Villa (but not suitable as lone striker), preferably as a second striker in a 4-4-2/3-5-2 or even a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2 and then less effective though decent as a winger in 4-3-3; exquisite technique, excellent in crowded spaces, great awareness for feeding strike-partner. UPDATE: Now at Porto in Portuguese SuperLiga.
  • Pablo Guiñazú (Internacional) similar to Roy Keane or Daniele De Rossi (surging forward, shot from distance) in a 4-4-2 , and to Javier Mascherano (tactical brain, tackling ability) as the main defensive midfielder in 4-3-3/3-3-2-2.
  • Taison (Internacional)- similar to Balottelli or a young Thierry Henry; second-striker for a 4-4-2/3-5-2 or winger for a 4-3-3, incredible pace, directness/'verticalidad', courageousness at taking on opponents, good finisher, less indulgent than Robinho.
  • Hernanes (São Paulo) similar to Zidane ( his gait, ambidexterity, touch, vision) with Xabi Alonso (passing range, tactical mind, defensive awareness).
  • Ibson (Flamengo) similar to Deco, a busy little playmaker who doesn't need a free role to thrive), ideal as a No. 8/ 'ocho' (creative midfielder) in a 4-1-2-3/3-3-2-2, or as a No. 10 in 4-3-1-2/3-4-1-2/4-2-3-1. UPDATE: Now at Spartak Moscow.


  1. I am quite happy that Ramires is coming to Benfica, unfortunately I doubt we will hold on to him for longer than this year, he has EPL written all over him.

  2. Also wanted to mention that I want to see more of Hernanes, I haven't been able to download any games of him yet, but of the youtube clips I seen of him he looks quite the player.

  3. any reason for not picking Keirrison? Not rating him or not eligible because already signed for an European club?
    I only saw 2 games of him. He is nothing special as someone said but that sort of makes him special. He seems to have a natural feeling for the goal and seems to be a hard worker. Obviously his game is still raw.

  4. Hi Steve,

    thanks for checking out the blog.

    Re: Ramires, yes... I think he would be perfect for the Premier League. But I think a season (at least) in Benfica would do him good, not least because the guy still has quite a thin frame. Probably within 2-3 years he will have bulked up, which is a frightening prospect.

    Re: Hernanes. Where are you based? In terms of catching TV broadcasts of the Brazilian Championship, Sportscenter used to cover it via satellite every weekend (at least when I was still in Ireland/UKthere last year). The production and studio analysis was cringe-inducingly poor, but the transmission of the matches themselves was from a Brazilian network.

  5. Hey Oleguer,


    I didn't pick Keirrison as I felt that his profile will soon be writ large, what given his imminent arrival in Spain. Not only that, but -as you say- he has been underwhelming in this season's Brazilian Championship ( could it be that his head was already in the Camp Nou?) . Admittedly he was excellent in the preceding Paulista state championship, so the class is definitely, how he will develop from here, I don't know.

  6. Oleguer,

    a further note on players I intend on covering here on this blog.

    I'm also a bit hesitant to further hype up young players who have been mentioned in the European press. Only in a few cases does a Robinho or a Kakà get transferred directly to an elite club such as Real Madrid or AC Milan. And in the case of these two players, both were already key components of their respective clubs (Santos and Sao Paulo) before making the move. Both were also 21- still very young of course, but considerably more mature from the likes of Pato (who was only 18 when he debuted for Milan). That is why, when I see a player like Grêmio's Douglas Costa being linked with a heavyweight like Manchester United- and bearing the tag of the "new Cristiano Ronaldo" to boot! -, I take a step back. It's not his talent that I doubt, rather the fact that at 18 years of age he is still yo-yoing between the junior and senior sides at Grêmio. He has yet to make a sustained run of appearances for the first team here - and some people would thrust upon him the responsibility of challenging for the Premier League and Champions League crowns upon arrival at Old Trafford! Ditto Neymar - "The New Pelé", a 17-year old at Santos. When I see him partaking in some meaningful and consistent performances then I will write about him.

    Another danger is for people to point out to the likes of Anderson (ex-Grêmio) as evidence of some kind of precedent in the Douglas case. And whist the current United player did indeed leave Brazil at seventeen, he at least had the benefit of a two year adaptation-period at Porto in a less testing league. None of this patience is being afforded to Douglas and Neymar.

  7. Furthermore, concerning Douglas and Man Utd:

    The London Times reports that United are holding out for the player to complete a trial before signing. Grêmio are insisting on a clean sell or nothing. Could they be worried that United might reject his signing on the basis of a failed trial? This would be devastating for Douglas' market value in the future amidst other European suitors.

    Here in the Porto Alegre region, local journalists are astounded at the level of interest in him being generated by United. Many point to the likelyhood of agents busy-at-work. One columnist has even asked whether United are being lead on a merry dance by whatever financial interests are in play.

    For me, it is in the best interests of both player and club (Man United)that Douglas stay for at least one season of consistent appearances in Porto Alegre.

  8. Steve,

    if you're around,

    I'd be very interested to hear your perspective on the Portuguese league. I read A Bola online every now and then, though I find it a bit lacking in content.

    In particular, I'm curious about Benfica; how is new coach Jorge Jesús being received by fans and media alike? And Pablito has he been performing?

  9. Roberticus,
    I am a Luso-Canadian, (born to Portuguese parents in Canada). I get Gol TV but am rarely home when the Brasileirao is on.
    About the Chupaliga, I don't follow it that closely, I am Benfiquista but not a very good one I watch maybe 2-3 games a season I have a hard time going to a bar to watch a game when I have games of much higher quality (la liga, epl, and serie a) right at my finger tips. That and the typical portuguese futebol fan here is a tad ignorant and it annoys me!
    From what I read on some benfica forums I frequent, its mixed reviews with Jorge Jesus, most (including myself)thought that we needed some stability and wanted to keep Flores, while others wanted Flores out but didn't think Jesus was the right man for the job. Others rate him highly.

  10. Roberticus, thanks for the explanation. I actually prefer it the way you do it. I guess I can rely on Sport and Casanovas or Marca for any hype story on Neymar and Douglas Costa, so this way is much more appreciated anyway.

  11. Roberticus,

    regarding Douglas Costa. I have to agree with Gremio on refusing to put the player through a trial before signing. It's up to United to decide how much they value the player as an asset, Gremio and the player don't have to accomodate such requests. If they have doubts, that's perfectly fine, look for another player elsewhere. If you want the player, you should have done serious scouting before hand and know what is the level of the player. This is just laziness/soberbia from United to make that request.

  12. @ Charlitos,

    re scouting:

    But the most United' scouts would have seen of consistent performances would have been against regional teams in the local state championship from earlier this year and last. Some of these teams are semi-professional.

  13. Looks like Ibson is on his way to Spartak, and rumours of Hernanes to Milan.

  14. Roberticus,

    After having watched a couple of Benfica's pre season games. I have an opinion of Jorge Jesus, and so far it is a good one. The team presses high up the pitch plays with 2 strikers,a proper # 10 and a winger!

    The formation he is using is a bit assymetrical.
    -----------------Coentrao/Di Maria

    I have been quite impressed with the two young CB's Miranda and Vitor, the latter especially, looks like he will be quite the defender, Miranda has been compared to Mozer a lot, and is only 18 I believe, Vitor 19 or 20.

    I think our DM will be that Javi Garcia we just paid quite a bit for but I don't know much about him.
    In important matches I would expect him to probably ditch a winger and play both Ramires and Martins on either side of the DM.

  15. Olá Roberticus, tudo bem?

    Como eu sei que você gosta de analisar historicamente os esquemas táticos, gostaria que você desse uma opinião sobre a nova série que estou inaugurando no meu blog: a Esquemas Clássicos. Estou começando com a seleção brasileira de 1982. Analisei o jogo brasil x Escócia. Espero sua contribuição ao debate. Ah, também não se esqueça de votar na enquete para a análise da próxima semana: Brasil de 1958 ou Holanda de 1974.

    Aguardo a sua visita.



  16. @ Everyone

    Apologies for the delay in replying to your posts; my computer was getting fixed.

  17. @ Steve

    Thanks for the update on all things Benfica!

    That setup which Jorge Jesus has experimented with looks, at first
    sight, mouth-watering, even if you are correct when you predict him changing it for something much more robust when competitive football starts again.

    They way you have illustrated the formation there almost suggests a 1970s-esque approach, one of those hybrid 4-2-4/4-3-3 systems in which everyplayer seemed to be occupying his natural terrain.

    I think the best we can hope for,and even in the case of Jesus dropping just one of the offensive quartet (Aimar-DiMaria-Saviola-Cardozo), is that the system be tweaked rather than gutted. Maybe at a push, Aimar could be persuaded to play a Xavi/Iniesta role(implying a little more defensive responsibility)in a 4-3-3. Saviola can be effective attacking from the wing (cutting onto his stronger foot), whilst Di Maria is a natural outside-forward with Cardozo more central. Ramires would provide 'llegada'and spoiling in equal measure to complement Aimar with the defensive mid just behind.

    YOur midfield diamond is probably more realistic, but anything which comes even close to using three of the attacking four would be enticing!

  18. Marcelo,

    direitinho vou responder ao tue novo post.

    Nos vemos ali.



    (perdoe erros ortograficos devidos a reparos no meu notebook!)

  19. Roberticus,
    I think you may be right that in Europe or against the other 2, this

    Maxi-Luisao--Miguel Vitor--Shaffer
    ---------Javi Garcia-------
    ---Ramires----------Di Maria

    May turn into this

    Maxi-Luisao--Miguel Vitor--Shaffer
    ---------Javi Garcia-------
    Saviola----Cardozo--Di Maria

    Or even

    Maxi-Luisao--Miguel Vitor--Shaffer
    ----Javi Garcia--Martins---
    ----Ramires- Aimar--Di Maria

    Similar to a Liverpool/Brazil in the confed's cup setup.

    Keep your eye out for this Miguel Vitor, the next best portuguese CB, I predict.

  20. @ Steve

    those formations were what I had in mind

    Thanks for the tip on Vitor!