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'Liverpool told me to keep an eye on Eder Militao!' - Ex-Reds coach reveals interest in Real Madrid defender

5:30 PM IST 29/04/20
Eder Militao
The centre-back was part of a talented Sao Paulo generation and he was coached there by Michael Beale, now working with Steven Gerrard at Rangers

Eder Militao has yet to make an impact at Real Madrid after struggling to get in ahead of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos but his former coach Michael Beale believes his time will come.

The 22-year-old signed a six-year deal upon his €50 million (£45m/$56m) arrival from Porto in the summer of 2019 but he has yet to hold down a first-team place. The Brazil international has only managed to make seven starts in his maiden season in La Liga. 

Eder came through the Sao Paulo academy, where Beale introduced him to senior football when working under legendary goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni as his assistant manager in 2016-17 season.

He recalled watching the youngster break through and revealed how his previous employers Liverpool were already tracking the defender before he made his senior debut.

"He was a good player and Liverpool already knew about Eder and asked me to keep an eye on him," Beale tells Goal. "We went to the academy and picked eight players to start pre-season with us. Eder was one.

"He was always a good player as a centre-half who played in central midfield. We played him either as a right centre-back in a three or right-back just because he was growing into the position.

"We gave eight or nine debuts in our 36 games there. Eder was like what Trent [Alexander-Arnold] is doing now. You wished he would do it but sometimes you don’t see how they can do it so quickly.

"Eder went to Porto, which was a great softener for his move to Europe. He had two fantastic years in Europe and at Real Madrid he now faces difficulties. He is trying to displace the world’s best players in Varane and Ramos.

"Every day, he is going to learn, grow and get better. He is a Brazil full international playing for the most mystical national team in the world. I just smile and I had a one per cent impact on Eder’s career but I was around when we helped him make his debut so I was proud of that."

A talented Sao Paulo team was part of the attraction for the young coach to earn experience alongside Ceni, who had visited Liverpool and met Beale ahead of his first coaching job. However, losing the likes of Eder was one of the reasons he chose to leave Brazil, before rejoining Liverpool and ultimately going to Rangers to work under Steven Gerrard.

"I left Sao Paulo because they sold a lot of their best players and I couldn’t see where they were going with the project. It was my first step into first-team football," Beale continues.

"It was all about selling in Brazil because the league doesn’t have much money. I couldn’t understand it. I was all about getting close to players and going on their journey. I did it at Chelsea and Liverpool.

"So I found it hard to sell Eder Militao to Porto and then he goes onto Real Madrid. I didn’t want him for just 10-15 games. I wanted him longer. We sold David Neres to Ajax. We sold two more to Lille. We sold Maicon to Galatasaray; we sold Joao to Atalanta. I found it really difficult to see where it was going.

"Still, the day-to-day working in Brazil was unbelievable and it took me to another level. I loved the away games with Santos, Palmeiras and travelling around the country. Training Brazilian players, meeting people and the experiences I had are very hard to explain because people haven’t lived it.

"It is pure football with atmosphere, attacking but it is sometimes naive tactically. I loved the flair. I was hasty when I left but it felt like the right decision at the time and I am happy with what happened since.

"My idols were Bobby Robson and Terry Venables who had both coached overseas and spoke a foreign language. My worry in life is sitting still and being comfortable. I wanted to manage abroad and head up an academy abroad as goals in my career.

"I never thought I would get a chance like that."