ANALYSIS - Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer
One of the most competitive and hard-fought leagues in world football drew to a close earlier this month as Palmeiras were crowned the 2018 Brasileirao champions.
And, once again, as scores of top-level players left for abroad, a new generation emerged. Given the time and space to showcase their talents at home, a host of teenagers stepped to the fore as Brazil’s remarkable conveyer belt of talent rolled around again.
Below, Brasil Global Tour take a closer look at five of the revelations of 2018.
PEDRO - FLUMINENSE
Awarded the title of the best newcomer of the season, Fluminense striker Pedro was one of the standout performers of the campaign before falling to an untimely injury that cost him his international debut in September.
Despite injury costing him a huge chunk of the season, Pedro ended the campaign with an impressive 10 goals, which has seen him linked to some of Europe’s biggest clubs and leave the traditional No.9 in line for another chance with the Selecao when the Brasil Global Tour resumes in March.
LEO DUARTE - FLAMENGO
The main area of the pitch where Brazil coach Tite is looking for fresh blood is in defence. And in 22-year-old Leo Duarte, Flamengo may well have a future Selecao star on their hands.
Only Rever managed more league appearances than Leo Duarte in the Flamengo defence and only the same player bettered his 84 successful aerial duels.
AYRTON LUCAS - FLUMINENSE
Undoubtedly one of the standout full-backs of the season, 21-year-old Fluminense star Ayrton Lucas showed all the classic attributes of a flying Brazilian left-back. Smart and composed in defence, he time and again exploded down the flank to offer his side the sort of width and attacking threat that his compatriots have showcased for more than half a century.
His fine performances didn’t go unnoticed, and he has already secured a move to Europe after agreeing a move to Spartak Moscow in Russia. With Marcelo heading into his thirties, Ayrton Lucas may not be too far away from the Selecao.
ARTHUR CABRAL - CEARA
Ceara forward Arthur Cabral was another one of the standout rookies of 2018 and was hugely important in his club’s run to beating relegation. The 20-year-old hit seven goals and his physical strength in the forward line was vital to his team’s play all season. He has now agreed to join league champions Palmeiras and certainly looks like one to keep an eye on in the coming years.
RODRYGO - SANTOS
Real Madrid will have to wait. The 17-year-old Santos sensation may well have already agreed his move to the Spanish giants but he will remain in Brazil until June. And this year he made an impressive arrival in senior football.
The teenager hit eight goals for a Santos side that slumped to 10th place in the Brazilian top flight, completing a ninth-best 67 dribbles and creating an impressive 37 chances for his team-mates.