Europe remains the promised land for young players in Brazil, but the path to get there is not as tricky as it used to be.
Making waves for one of Brazil’s so-called “Big Twelve clubs” and starring for the Selecao is no longer an essential condition to appear on the radar of European scouts. For every high-profile transfer, there’s a number of teenagers who, despite having barely tasted top-flight football, leave home to chase their dreams.
Some of them have managed to shine abroad and are now ready to take the next step.
Ahead of the summer transfer window, we’ve compiled a list of seven Brazilian players you might not know much about, but who we believe might be on the move to top sides very soon.
They will all be hoping to become the next Roberto Firmino, who arrived at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga as a relative unknown before making a big-money move to Liverpool.
Honourable mentions: Emerson (21, right-back, Real Betis), Igor Julio (22, centre-back, Fiorentina), Rodrigo Becao (24, centre-back, Udinese), Gleison Bremer (23, centre-back, Torino), Marcos Antonio Bahia (19, midfielder, Shakhtar Donetsk), Raphinha (23, winger, Rennes), Joao Klauss (23, striker, LASK Linz).
7- Gabriel Magalhaes, 22, Centre-Back, Lille
Why you should be excited about him: He’s one of the most wanted left-footed defenders in the world
6- Luiz Felipe, 23, Centre-Back, Lazio
Why you should be excited about him: He’s been compared by fans to former Milan and Lazio legend Alessandro Nesta
5- Dodo, 21, Right-Back, Shakhtar Donetsk
Why you should be excited about him: He possesses a football intelligence beyond his years
4- Carlos Vinicius, 25, Striker, Benfica
Why you should be excited about him: He’s an absolute predator inside the area
3- Diego Carlos, 27, Centre-back, Sevilla
Why you should be excited about him: He’s Brazil’s answer to Virgil van Dijk
2- Alex Telles, 27, Left-back, Porto
Why you should be excited about him: He has been called “the Lord of the Assists” in Portugal
1- Tete, 20, Winger, Shakhtar Donetsk
Why you should be excited about him: The ball sticks to his left foot like glue