5. Matheuzinho (Flamengo), the explosive
When Kieran Trippier left Atlético de Madrid for Newcastle last January, the name of Matheuzinho (22) was whispered to Simeone to replace the Englishman according to the Spanish daily brand. Trained in Londrina (State of Paraná), Matheuzinho signed in 2019 at Flamengo. He first evolved with the U20s before gradually establishing himself. Right defender, endowed with a large volume of play, Matheuzinho won twice, in 2020 and 2021, the Brasileiro, the Brazilian championship.
Matheuzinho during the Brazilian Super Cup against Atlético Mineiro on February 20. (G.Gomes/Gil gomes/agif)
4. Patrick de Paula (Botafogo), the safe bet
At the end of March, his name made headlines in the Brazilian media. At 22, Palmeiras-trained Patrick de Paula has become the most expensive transfer in Botafogo’s history. The Whites and Blacks paid 6 million euros to secure his services. With Palmeiras, de Paula played 101 games for 8 goals and 3 assists. With his friend Danilo, they have been the hub of the Greens in recent years. Despite his recent signing, the midfielder may well only spend a few months at Botafogo. His profile interests several European clubs which could position themselves during the summer transfer window.
Patrick de Paula, in the jersey of Palmeiras. (T.Calil/Thiago calil/agif)
3. Matheus Nascimento (Botafogo), the Brazilian Cavani
His wavy hair and his center-forward position are reminiscent of a certain Edinson Cavani. But the comparison does not stop at the capillary metaphor. Like the Uruguayan, the lanky 18-year-old striker has an innate sense of goal. Capable of taking depth or evolving as a point of fixation, it was he who carried Botafogo’s attack this season during the Carioca championship with 5 goals and an assist in 10 matches, leading his club to the semis. -final (beaten by the future winner Fluminense). Tied until 2023 to Botafogo (his release clause is estimated at €50m according to Globe), Matheus Nascimento has already marked the history of his club. In September 2020, against Corinthians, he became the youngest player to wear the first team shirt at the age of 16 years and 187 days.
Matheus Nascimento has become a must in Botafogo. (J.Rodrigues/Jorge rodrigues/agif)
2. Endrick (Palmeiras), the future crack
At the end of January, Endrick won with Palmeiras the Copinha, a very famous U20 cup of the State of São Paulo, against Santos (4-0). Co-top scorer in the competition with 6 goals in 7 matches, author of the best goal of the competition with an acrobatic recovery from 20 meters in the quarter-finals against Oeste FC (5-2): the young Endrick (15 years old) has used to stack the goals at the Palmeiras academy. Where he stands out is his ability to torture defenses often made up of players 5 or 6 years older than him.
In 2008, at the same age and during the same Copinha, a certain Neymar shone in the jersey of Santos. Today, the names of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester United circulate in the corridors of Palmeiras. He should sign his first professional contract next July for his 16 years (the legal minimum age for signing a professional contract). If he intends to confirm with the pros, he could well have a destiny for Vinicius Jr, who has the same agent as him. In 2017, while Vinicius had not yet played a match with the pros of Flamengo, Real Madrid had paid more than 40 M€ to offer his services. The player had waited for his majority before joining the Spanish club.
Stade Rennais is also following the Brazilian nugget. According to ESPN Brazil, scouts from the Breton club were present in São Paulo during the Copinha. Solid third in Ligue 1, the Rennais are developing one of the most attractive games in Europe this season. Above all, the club is recognized for its work with young players and has Florian Maurice as sporting director, whose years in Lyon make him a connoisseur of Brazilian football. Arguments that could weigh in possible negotiations.
At 15, Endrick finished co-top scorer in the São Paulo Juniors Cup with six goals. (D.Reis/Diogo reis/agif)
1. Danilo (Palmeiras), the builder
From the height of his 20 years, Danilo exudes a rather disconcerting maturity. Last February, in the final of the Club World Cup against Chelsea (2-1 ap), he had been a real poison for the London environment. Pure left-hander, he is able to play both in defensive midfield – his favorite position – and in central midfield. With the Greens of Palmeiras, he has 116 matches to his credit. Season after season, he has established himself as a key player in Abel Ferreira’s squad. And has written a few lines on his record: two Copa Libertadores (2020, 2021), two São Paulo state champion titles, the last of which this Sunday April 3 against São Paulo (4-0, 1-3 at the to go). It was he who opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a header from close range. His recent performances attract in Europe. Jorge Sampaoli, the former coach of Santos, would carefully follow the situation of the Brazilian midfielder to compensate for the probable departure of Olympique de Marseille from Boubacar Kamara whose contract expires next June.
Danilo opened the scoring in the Paulista Championship final against São Paulo. (E.Chiereguini/Ettore chiereguini/agif)