It seems that Brazil has a never ending pool of world class youngsters just waiting to burst onto the scene. Whether starring in the Brazilian Serie A or breaking out in leagues across Europe, many young Brazilians steal the headlines each year in a bid to claim a regular place in the Selecao. The likes of Neymar and Vinicius are now fully fledged stars in their own right but who could be the next big star to follow in their footsteps? Here are the ten best Brazilian youngsters in the world at the moment.
10 best Brazilian youngsters in the world
Cleiton (Red Bull Bragantino)
Brazil’s goalkeeper conundrum has been eased by Alisson’s fine form for Liverpool but his successor could already be waiting in the wings.
23-year-old Cleiton has been a regular for Brazil’s youth teams since 2017 and finally got his chance to shine with Atletico Miniero in 2019, notching up 25 appearances for the Serie A perennials for the first time in his career. His fine form caught the eye of newly promoted Red Bull Bragantino, the newest addition to the Red Bull network of football clubs, who signed him to be their number one for the coming seasons.
A couple of strong seasons with Bragantino could open the doors to a move to Europe with one of Red Bull’s more prominent franchises such as RB Salzburg or RB Leipzig.
Emerson (Real Betis)
The search for the next great Brazilian full-back could be over with the emergence of 21-year-old Emerson as one of the best Brazilian youngsters in the world.
The Real Betis right-back has enjoyed a stellar season in La Liga, scoring 3 goals in 33 appearances, as well as earning his first full cap for the Brazil senior team. His pace and skill ensure he is a strong threat at both ends of the pitch, making him a valuable player over the past 12 months.
He has links to Barcelona, who have a first-option clause, with Betis giving Emerson a chance to shine at one of the biggest clubs in the world should he continue his stellar form over the next few months.
Luiz Felipe (Lazio)
Lazio are experiencing a resurgence of form over the past 18 months and one of those leading the charge is defender Luiz Felipe. Having joined from Ituano in 2016, the former youth player has honed in craft in Italy, slowly becoming a part of the new wave of talent breaking through at the Stadio Olimpico.
He has made over 60 appearances for the Biancocelesti over the past 3 years, including a stellar 2019/20 campaign in which he notched up 25 appearances, and scored 1 goal in the Italian Serie A. Having already won 3 trophies with Lazio since moving to Rome, expect the 23-year-old to continue his progress with the Italian giants for some time to come.
Tete (Shakhtar Donetsk)
It’s amazing how Shakhtar so regularly discover Brazilian stars and allow them to breakthrough onto the European scene seemingly out of nowhere.
Tete is the latest Brazilian wonderkid to do just that, joining from Gremio at the start of the 2019/20 season. In his first season, he scored 8 goals in 31 appearances in the Ukrainian league, slotting in comfortably alongside more experienced compatriots such as Taison and Marlon.
Their guidance is already having an impact on his development and it surely won’t be a matter of time before the 20-year-old has all of Europe’s biggest sides queuing up for his signature.
Matheus Henrique (Gremio)
Brazil has produced some excellent holding midfielders over the years and Matheus Henrique could be the latest one to join their ranks. Henrique’s progress has been a slow-burning story but his skills have improved tremendously in the past year or so and he is certainly among the best Brazilian youngsters in the world right now.
After joining Gremio in 2019 after a successful loan spell the previous year, he was been part of a Brazil youth squad that won the 2019 Toulon Cup. After featuring heavily in 2019 for Gremio in Serie A and the Copa Libertadores, the 22-year-old made his debut for the senior Brazil team at the end of 2019, cementing his status as a rising star. With European teams placing a greater need for defensive midfielders in their first team, it might not be long before we see him making a big money move away from Brazil.
Reinier (Real Madrid)
Real have signed plenty of prodigious talent from all around the world recently and Reinier is the most recent Brazilian wonderkid to arrive at the Bernebeu. Still just 18, the young midfielder signed a 6-year contract in 2020 at the Santiago Bernabeu, showcasing how much Zidane and co rate his various skillsets.
6 goals in 14 appearances for Flamengo in the 2019 Brazilian Serie A has shown that Reinier is comfortable in the attacking third and already has a Copa Libertadores winners medal in his collection. 2 goals in 3 appearances for Real Madrid B has further showed his potential and he could well be a leading light for the La Liga Champions for a long time to come.
Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan)
AC Milan have been rebuilding for a few seasons now but it future stars such as Lucas Paqueta who could help change their fortunes in coming years. The 22-year-old midfielder has become a regular in the Rossonieri’s first team and made 37 appearances last year in Serie A at the San Siro. He has slowly been adding to his all-round game, including developing better awareness to go with his natural pace and finishing ability.
Paquete has also made an impact on the international scene, notching up 11 appearances and 2 goals for Brazil’s senior squad, including a role in Brazil’s Copa America success in 2019. A little bit more polish and Paqueta could be the next big star that Milan have been yearning for.
Ajax are no stranger to developing the best Brazilian youngsters and Antony could be yet another import who becomes a household name courtesy of one of the best academies in the world. The 20-year-old has enjoyed some excellent performances for Sao Paulo in Serie A in the past 12 months scoring 6 goals in 45 appearances.
His pace and trickery will make him a nightmare for defences to handle and linking up with compatriot David Neres could make Ajax a force in Europe as well as in Eredivisie. It will have many clubs in both Netherlands and Europe watching Antony’s progress keenly, to see if he becomes another young starlet polished off by the Dutch giants.
Matheus Cunha (Hertha Berlin)
Sometimes a second chance can be a blessing and that is exactly what has happened for Matheus Cunha at Hertha Berlin. Having moved from Swiss side Sion in 2018 to fellow Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, Cunha struggled for form despite regular playing time.
However, a move to the Olympiastadion has worked wonders where he has scored 5 goal in 11 appearances for Hertha since signing in January 2020. He has also starred for Brazil’s Olympic squad scoring 14 goals in just 16 appearances making him out to be a striker who is very much improving at a rapid rate.
With the ability to play on both the wing and as a central striker, Cunha is one of the best young football players in the world and is going to be playing in Europe’s biggest leagues for a long while to come.
Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
Rounding off our list of the best Brazilian youngsters, Martinelli’s rise to fame at The Emirates has been one of the better stories of Arsenal’s season especially given his previous form. Having only played for Serie D side Ituano, the young winger was an unknown quantity to many casual observers.
However, his true potential was quickly showcased as he scored 10 goals in 26 appearances for The Gunners across all competitions with only Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring more goals. With Arsenal in a rebuilding phase, the young star is one of the names that the club look to build around as they look for a return to the Champions League.
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