The Premier League has seen many Brazilian players come and hone their skills to become top players. We have witnessed players who became marquee additions in their respective clubs whether it be in defence, midfield or attack. The ‘invincible’ Arsenal squad had Gilberto Silva and Edu as their Brazilian contingents. Chelsea had Alex, Ramires; Manchester United had Anderson, Rafael, Fabio as notable players.
Plenty of players had no significant name until they came as a surprise signing and made their name in the League and consequently world football. Most of them came as their former-selves and became upgraded playing in the highest level league.
We all know what exactly is the ‘Brazilian’ style of football. A creative, high-pressing game with trick-full players on the forward line and robust individuals to dominate in midfield. They always have fullbacks who can defend when required but mainly be an attacking threat with good crosses and effective forward running.
We will analyse about the current crop of Brazilians who have entered the league and made the difference their clubs were looking for. We will also see how they brought their Brazilian style of football brought useful changes to their club.
The Brazilian centre-back started his career at a very mediocre club in Salvador. A loan and a permanent move to Benfica became a turning point in his career. The defender then moved to Chelsea in 2011 under Andre Villas-Boas. His ability to carry the ball as a defender in midfield and also takes the direct free-kicks were something new for a centre-back back then.
He redefined his game playing with Terry as a defender and also scored some screamers from long ranges. A ball-playing centre-back is always useful and Luiz made use of this attribute to pick good passes from back to front. He went to PSG in 2014 as Mourinho didn’t consider him a defender that’d fit in his lineup on a world-record fee of 50m Euros.
The Brazilian then made significant contributions in the success of the French giants. He partnered Marquinhos and Samba captain Thiago Silva. Coming back to Chelsea in 2016 has made him a better player overall though. He wasn’t considered a Conte-style defender, but adjusting and redefining his game in a back system was something fantastic from the Brazilian.
It is testament to a player who changed his carefree game for the team and his manager. He is now an integral part of the Chelsea lineup taking up the central defender role. Certainly a player who made his name predominantly in the Premier League.
If you ever want an example of a player who got rejected at a club but made his chance at another club, then you might think of Phillipe Coutinho first. The Brazilian started his career at a Samba club Vasco da Gama but never played many games.
He then moved to Italy at Inter Milan to make showcase his talent at a higher level. But, under Rafa Benitez didn’t enough opportunities to show that. Liverpool, then got interested in the player and signed him for just 8.5m Euros. His first full season at Merseyside became an instant success. Playing in that number 10 role with Suarez and Sturridge was a seriously good combination.
During the 2014-15 season, the Brazilian reshaped his game to play on the left side. Rodgers’ changed 3-4-3 formation was a turning point of his career when he played on the left side of the forward line. Scoring long range stunners and picking a pass from half-forward line is his main attributes.
The Brazilian is now an integral cog in the Klopp era. The manager asked him to play in that number 8 role late in the previous season and the player stirred in that role too. So, a varying role in a club like Liverpool is good for a player who was unknown four years ago. Another Brazilian who came out of nowhere and burst onto the big stage and performed.
Roberto Firmino is another player who needed Premier League to make his name in world football. The Brazilian started his career at a Brazilian club Figueirense and then moved to a German club Hoffenheim in 2011.
He was considered an outstanding talent by many in Germany with his ability to play the pressing game. His move to Liverpool in 2015 materialised after his excellent season in 2014 in Hoffenheim. Brendan Rodgers failed to get the best out of him but Klopp found out a perfect role.
The German manager deployed him as a number 9 in the central position. Since then, the Brazilian developed his game substantially. His ability to start the press from the forward line and be a first line of defence. Some of his movements have been great which creates space for others in the team.
In addition to the above, likes of Willian, Fernandinho, Oscar, Maicon, etc. have also been effective coming to England. It is been a general trend these days where clubs tend to sign raw talents from Brazil and nurture them into being a massive talent. The Brazilian football always has that attitude of high-level play on any stage, which brings about a breath of fresh air in any club or country.
The redefinition and adjustment of their game according to the league is an attribute worth commending. We have witnessed some fabulous Samba talents come through in the English League and expect more of the same in the coming future. They sure are worth watching.