South American Under-20 Profile: Douglas Costa (Brazil)

With an impressive performance against Argentina, Douglas Costa ensured that he became a player to watch both at club and international level. profiles the Gremio starlet...
Personal Information

Douglas Costa de Souza
Date of birth: 14/9/1990, 18 years old
Place of birth: Sapucaia, Rio Grande do Sul
Height: 1.72 Mts.
Weight: 64 Kgs.
Foot: Left
Position: Attacking midfielder
Team: Gremio

First Steps

Douglas Costa began his football career in the junior teams at Novo Hamburgo from Rio Grande do Sul. At the ago of 11 he was approached by Gremio de Porto Alegre, one of the biggest teams in the south of Brazil.

In the Gremio youth teams he began to impress not only this coaches, but also anyone that went to see him in action in the international friendly tournaments.

Before he had even played a handful of top flight games, Costa was attracting the attention of the big European clubs like Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid, although Gremio were prepared to protect their rough diamond. A new rule, which means that no Brazilian player can go abroad until he is at least 18, also played a significant role in the club’s successful protection of their prodigy.

Costa is a small, but fast and extremely skilful player, capable of playing anywhere across the middle of forward line, although, given his physique, he is at his best when employed just behind the strikers.

He was quickly labelled 'the new Ronaldinho' because of his origins and also because of his potential. With his magical left foot, he takes on and beats opponents, places precise passes and sends powerful shots goalwards.

His debut in the Gremio first team came on October 10, 2008, in a Brazilian Championship encounter against Botafogo. He scored a goal in his team's 2-1 victory.

National Team

In 2008, Costa was named in the Under-19 and Under-20 squads for several different international tournaments, which is where he began to attract the attention of several European scouts.

On January 20, 2009, he made his official debut for a Brazil team in this tournament, as the men in gold played against Paraguay. The team may not have performed well in the next two matches, which were against Bolivia and Chile, but Costa was back to his best when the Brazilians took on Uruguay and Argentina.

Scoring two goals in successive games, Costa then stood-out against old rivals Argentina, as he came on in the second half and created both goals in Brazil's 2-0 win.

The Future

Gremio have no plans to cash in on their starlet and Costa has yet to forge a regular place in their first team squad. That is his next main ambition before looking to impress in the Copa Libertadores.

In September 2008, he turned 18, which meant that his contract was automatically renewed until 2013 and saw a buy-out clause of €26.5 million included.

No European club is expected to meet the valuation, but the player's agent, Cesar Bottega, has explained that "there is room to negotiate."

For the time being clubs such as Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid continue to show interest in the rising star of Brazilian football, but they are not alone.

According to Bottega, however, Costa would prefer to play in Spain, as he would adapt quickly, and because of the climate and the language. The player has, meanwhile, stated that he is not another Cristiano Ronaldo.

Martin Decaux,