ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer
The dream got away from the Selecao this year in Russia but, after two years of excellent work under coach Tite, the future remains bright.
Brazil recaptured the imagination of a Brazilian public who were left so disillusioned following World Cup 2014 and Tite has already been offered a new four-year deal that will ensure he has a second chance, if the former Corinthians man signs on the dotted line.
And if he does return, there will no doubt be some news faces in Qatar. The likes of Jemerson, Rodrigo Caio, Alex Sandro, Ederson and others are thought to be set to play an increasingly important role for the national team in the coming years and, as always, there is plenty of fresh talent coming though.
Below, Brasil Global Tour takes a closer look at some potential future stars of the Selecao.
The Barcelona man spent last term on loan to French club Nice and is now courting serious interest from a number of Premier League clubs in England. He made 23 Ligue 1 appearances during a period that no doubt aided his continued adaptation to European football, where defences are sit much higher up the pitch. Quick and increasingly strong, Marlon remains an exciting prospect for the future.
The 20-year-old has impressed since breaking into the Sao Paulo first-team last year and is already being singled out as a future star. Able to operate at right-back, a perceived weak point among the youth divisions in Brazil, he can also operate in central defence and in a holding midfield role.
An Olympic gold medal winner at Rio 2016, former Internacional right-back William established himself as a first-team player in Germany with Wolfsburg last season. Quick, strong and always looking to get forward, he is another who looks set to go from strength to strength in the coming years.
Central midfielder Arthur was the revelation of the Brazilian season last term and came of age on the continental stage, inspiring Gremio to a Copa Libertadores title. A squat, cerebral passing midfielder, he appears to be the sort of player the Selecao have been missing in recent years. He completed his move to Barcelona this week and is tipped to be the future of the Brazilian midfield.
The archetypal Brazilian ‘volante’, Walace is a strong and athletic destroyer who sat at the base of the midfield during the Rio 2016 Olympics.His impressive form for the Selecao under-23’s and for Gremio earned him a move to Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga, but all did not go to plan. His partner and new baby remained in Brazil which made the move all the more difficult, and his club were relegated. He has since moved on to Hannover and is hoping to get his career back on track this coming season.
The young midfielder has joined Shakhtar, a club that has a proven track with forming rough diamonds from Brazil. A constant threat arriving late in the penalty area and ferocious long-range shot attracted a number of Europe’s top clubs prior to his switch to Ukraine where he will hope to attract the attention of the Selecao.
One of the great promises of Brazilian football, the Flamengo man made coach Tite’s list of reserves for this year’s World Cup after a breakthrough season in Rio. The dynamic, tricky attacking midfielder lit up the iconic Brazilian city with a series of outstanding performances this year. Much has also been made of his grounded and humble personality, too, despite heavy interest from some of the world’s leading clubs. A future superstar.
The flying winger came of age in Ligue 1 for Bordeaux last season as one of the competition’s outstanding individuals. Set for a mega-money move this transfer window, the 21-year-old former Corinthians man worked under coach Tite with great success before heading to Europe and is already tipped to form part of next year’s Copa America squad.
One of an increasing number of youngsters who barely kicked a ball at senior level in Brazil before heading to Europe, the Ajax man took Dutch football by storm last season. 14 goals in 31 league appearances for the Dutch giants last term saw him become the team's top-scorer. His bewitching dribbling, guile and eye for a pass combined, Ajax look to have unearthed yet another future star.
The teenager became a global superstar before even making his professional debut after agreeing a mega-money move to Real Madrid. The dynamic forward struggled to adapt to the senior game in his first weeks with the first-team, but since showed constant improvement and now stands with the world at his feet.
One of the most promising centre-forwards to emerge in Brazil in recent years, Pedro hit 14 goals in 2018 and is already a key player for the Rio de Janeiro club. A proper no.9, the youngster is big, strong, and has repeatedly shown a cool head in front of goal.
Vincius Junior isn’t the only teenager tipped to do things for the national team in the future. Santos appear to produced yet another superstar in 17-year-old Rodrygo, who has inevitably earned comparisons to both Robinho and Neymar. His electric pace and technical qualities have already seen him follow in the footsteps on Vinicius by securing a future move to Real Madrid. He will join his compatriot in the Spanish capital in January 2019 after he turns 18.
Vasco midfielder Paulinho is another who appears to have a big future and he too has agreed a move to Europe ahead of his 18th birthday. The two-time South American youth championships-winner will join Vasco in Germany for the season ahead.