Talles Magno: Liverpool-linked Brazilian teen star with Neymar-esque skills

Talles Magno NxGnGetty/Goal

Vasco da Gama may not be Brazil's most decorated club side, but when it comes to producing attacking talent, few teams have done it better over the past 30 years.

Romario, Edmundo and Philippe Coutinho all emerged from Vasco's academy structure before going onto become global superstars and hopes are high at Estadio Sao Januario that their latest teenage wonderkid will follow in their footsteps.

Talles Magno has already been linked with both Liverpool and Real Madrid despite only turning 18 at the end of June, and clubs such as Lazio, Roma, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Krasnodar are all reportedly keen to sign him this summer.

Standing at 6'1", the forward began life as a central striker but is gradually being played more on the wing. Talles' dribbling ability and penchant for showboating has seen him likened to Neymar.

His versatility, meanwhile, has led to some comparing him to Everton and Brazil star Richarlison.

Talles began his education in the game at a local football school before earning a trial at Vasco as a nine-year-old. Having impressed the club's youth coaches sufficiently, he and the rest of his team-mates were soon told to pack their bags and prepare for a tournament in Portugal.

That presented a problem for Talles and his family: he had neither the finances required to take part in the trip nor a passport that would allow him to travel outside his homeland.

"I had no money," recalled Talles' mother, Claudineia, when speaking to Globoesporte. “I even stopped paying the electricity bill!

"We were able to raffle a signed Vasco shirt, selling each ticket for R$20 (£3/$3.70), which got us some of the money. The rest was covered by my husband's boss. It was a great test. After that tournament, all trips were paid for by Vasco."

On the issue of the passport, Talles told ESPN Brasil: "We were working to get it for a while. With a week to go, I still had no passport. It only arrived the week of the trip. Thankfully, there was time to make it after all the effort."

After that brief scare, Talles breezed through the various youth levels at Vasco, and has been praised for the way in which he was able to combine his school studies, burgeoning football career and regular futsal training growing up.

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By the age of 16 he was being recognised in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and having signed his first professional contract in 2018, his celebrity status reached a new level in June 2019 after he was called up to make his first-team debut by Vasco manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Talles was introduced off the bench for the final 32 minutes against Botafogo as he became the first player born in the 21st century to represent the 'Gigante da Colina'. Though Vasco lost the game 1-0, his ability and personality on the pitch had already won former Real Madrid boss Luxemburgo over, and he remained part of the senior squad going forward.

In total Talles made 15 appearances in Serie A in 2019, scoring two goals as he played in all three positions across Vasco's forward line.


In his final appearance of the season he produced one of the images of the campaign after performing an audacious rainbow flick over the head of Fortaleza's Gabriel Dias, who in turn subsequently fouled the teenager and was shown a red card.

After the match Luxemburgo labelled Talles as an "artist", though it would be the last time the 68-year-old would coach the teenager in a match before his sacking at the end of the season, with the forward selected for Brazil's Under-17 World Cup squad for the tournament on home soil in late 2019.

Talles started the tournament brightly, scoring in group-stage victories over New Zealand and Angola, only to suffer a hamstring injury in the Selecao's last-16 clash with Chile that would rule him out of the the rest of the tournament, as well as the final weeks of Vasco's Serie A campaign.


É um momento muito difícil para mim. Mais do que a dor física, a dor de não poder estar em campo com os meus companheiros, servindo o meu país, seguindo meu sonho de disputar uma Copa do Mundo com a Seleção Brasileira. A lesão que sofri ontem encerrou minha participação. Mas tenho certeza que eu serei muito bem representado por este grupo de jogadores e pessoas incríveis. Vou guardar para sempre a imagem de todos juntos me amparando e me carregando nos braços até o vestiário. O momento é duro, mas seria pior se eu não tivesse cada um de vocês ao meu lado. Quero agradecer por todo o apoio e carinho que tiveram comigo, desde o dia em que me apresentei lá na Granja. Vocês são especiais e merecem as melhores coisas do mundo. Sou grato ao professor Guilherme e a todos os profissionais da comissão técnica pela confiança e a parceria de todos os dias. Apesar da minha tristeza, sei que volto fortalecido e certo de que evoluí muito como atleta. A Copa do Mundo é uma experiência única, mágica. Gostaria de agradecer aos torcedores por todo carinho neste Mundial e a todos que me mandaram mensagens de incentivo e de apoio neste momento. Quero mandar um abraço especial à torcida vascaína, que sempre esteve ao meu lado. Mesmo de longe, estarei na torcida pelo nosso Tetra. Mostramos ao mundo o que somos capazes quando jogamos juntos. Tem que respeitar o futebol brasileiro! Os que conhecem o teu nome confiam em ti, pois tu, Senhor, jamais abandonas os que te buscam. Salmos 9:10 😭😭😭❤️❤️ amo todos vcs meu amigos, meus companheiros 😭😭😭🙌🏿❤️❤️

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"It is a very difficult time for me," Talles wrote on his Instagram account, accompanied by striking photograph of his team-mates carrying him into the dressing room. "More than the physical pain, the pain of not being able to be on the field with my friends, representing my country, following my dream of competing in a World Cup with the Brazilian national team.

"The injury I suffered ended my participation. I will forever keep the image of everyone together, supporting me and carrying me in your arms into the locker room. The timing is tough, but it would be worse if I didn't have each of you by my side."

The Selecao, led by the talents of Gabriel Veron, Kaio Jorge and Yan Couto, went onto win the tournament, with Talles able to collect his medal in the days following their 2-1 win over Mexico.

Having recovered from his injury, Talles began the State League season playing predominantly off the left-hand side following the arrival of Argentine striker German Cano, though coronavirus saw the competition suspended for three months before its resumption over the past week.

Despite links with a host of European clubs, Talles' contract at Vasco runs until 2022 and includes a release clause of €50 million (£45m/$56m), meaning the Brazilian outfit are in a strong position should a bid materialise over the coming months.

It seems inevitable, though, that Talles will follow the likes of Romario and Coutinho - who he lists as his footballing idol - in crossing the Atlantic at some point in the not too distant future.

When he does, the club that signs him are getting a very special player indeed.

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