Bruno Guimaraes couldn’t hold back the tears following Brazilian minnows Audax’s relegation to the Sao Paulo State Championship second division in 2017. It was not the farewell he had anticipated after emerging as a breakout star that season.

Having caught the attention of scouts from all over the country, the defensive midfielder knew he would soon be on the move.

The hype around him had escalated to such a point that when he finally decided on a loan transfer to Athletico Paranaense, he saw other teams attempting to hijack the deal until the very last minute as he boarded a commercial flight to undergo his medical in April that year.

While taking his seat, Guimaraes found out that Athletico’s fierce rivals, Coritiba, had somehow managed to place their sporting director by his side in the plane with a lucrative offer in hand. Among other things, it included a four-times-higher salary than what Athletico were offering.

As tempting as it was, the 22-year-old kept his word, joined Athletico and rejected Coritiba’s overtures. 

Guimaraes has been reaping the fruits of that decision ever since.

Despite arriving as a relatively unknown teenager, Guimaraes quickly established himself as a key member of an Athletico side during one of the most glorious runs in the club’s history.   Continue reading

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