Hulk: Assessing His Role for Brazil at the London 2012 Olympics
Brazil's Olympic football team—and what is widely thought of as the prospective 2014 FIFA World Cup team—have taken the competition at a waltz so far.
Compared to others in the competition, such as Great Britain, Egypt or Morocco, Brazil's talent pool to choose their squad from was bordering on sickening.
Olympic rules stipulate that just three players over the age of 23 can be utilised by managers, so picking those three becomes an important decision to get right.
Mano Menezes—head coach for both Olympic senior Brazilian teams—has opted to take Juan, Thiago Silva and Hulk, resulting in an experienced defensive pairing and top-tier offensive piece.
Here, we will break down Chelsea target Hulk's role for Menezes this summer.
Menezes may not be utilising every player at his disposal in their most devastating position, but he is at least allowing Hulk to play where he is most comfortable.
He has taken up his usual position that he plays to great effect for domestic club FC Porto: inverted right-winger.
A left-footed player on the right-hand side of the pitch is a very common sight in modern football, and Hulk epitomises this shift in philosophy. With Neymar—a right-footer on the left—opposite him, Brazil are geared toward cutting inside and threatening goal.
At times Hulk and Neymar will swap, but they both play the same role and carry an unprecedented level of respect from opposing defences.
Of the two inverted wingers Menezes is utilising, Neymar is shining significantly brighter than Hulk.
That is to be expected, though, as the mercurial talents of the 20-year-old left-sider are widely expected to land him a Ballon d'Or or €100 million transfer at some stage.
Hulk has been far from his frustrating usual self during the tournament so far, finding the pass more often than not and grabbing an assist rather than a goal.
He also secured a penalty by embarrassing Micah Richards in the warm-up game, so all signals point toward the fact that he is working well within the team and balancing out well with Neymar.
Hulk or Lucas Moura?
A question that continues to surface is whether or not it was worth "spending" one of the three overage picks on Hulk when Manchester United target Lucas plays his best football in the wide-right position.
We've seen Lucas make a few cameo appearances and, from the limited playing time he's been awarded, most agree they've seen a star in the making.
Could Lucas have feasibly been given a starting role in this side, allowing Menezes to use the third overage pick on someone else?
Was it Menezes' intention from the start to use an experienced, feared winger opposite to Neymar to prevent teams from double- or triple-covering his precocious 20-year-old talent?
Master stroke or mistake?
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