Picking an All-Brazilian Premier League XI
The days of Brazilian players being considered somehow unsuitable for the Premier League are long gone.
Indeed, some of the league's finest performers in recent times have been from the South American nation, and more recruits are already set to follow in the not-too-distant future.
The psychological barriers have long been broken down and the style of the English game is changing. The likes of Gilberto Silva, Edu and Juninho Paulista led their way for their countrymen and now their footsteps are being followed in ever increasing numbers.
Let's see if we can pick an a complete side out of those Brazilians currently plying their trade in the Premier League.
Incredibly, at present, we have a choice of three goalkeepers to choose from for our Brazilian XI, all of whom have been capped by their country.
While Doni may have been warming the substitutes bench for the majority of his time at Liverpool, both Tottenham's Gomes and QPR's Júlio César have seen plenty of first-team action in the Premier League.
Unfortunately for Gomes, his reputation has taken somewhat of a battering after a string of high-profile errors and he is no longer in the first-team picture. Thus, there is only one sensible candidate for the position.
Capped 64 times by his country, Júlio César made a shock move to Loftus Road this summer and has impressed greatly since arrival—he has had plenty of practice!
A fine shot-stopper, the five-time Série A winner exudes authority around his penalty area and has put his declining form in Italy behind him to win QPR some hard-earned points in their difficult start to the 2012-13 season.
Choosing defenders for our side is a bit more of a challenge—there are only five Brazilian defenders in the league at present and, of those, only Chelsea's David Luiz and Manchester United's Rafael are recognised starters for their clubs.
So, that then leaves us with a dilemma, with two places still to fill in our back four and a choice of Arsenal's André Santos, Manchester City's Maicon and QPR-loanee Fábio for the respective positions.
Former Inter Milan right-back Maicon would be the most adept of the trio at playing in the centre of the defence, so he will have to partner David Luiz in our side, leaving a choice of Fábio or André Santos to play at left-back.
Given that André Santos is tipped to depart for foreign climbs in January and that Fábio had been starting at Loftus Road until picking up an injury, it only seems fair to give youth a chance in this instance.
Thus, the Manchester United-owned left-back can take his place in our side, on the opposite side to his twin brother.
As we will discover in a moment, we are very limited in terms of striking options for our side. At this point, there are only six more Brazilians to choose from who have played in the league this season—three central midfielders and three natural attacking midfielders.
So, as such, I have decided to go with the Premier League's current standard 4-2-3-1 formation for our side.
At the base of the midfield, the natural candidates are Liverpool's Lucas Leiva and Tottenham's Sandro. Both are outstanding players who have earned great respect in the Premier League and both could well go on to represent their country at the 2014 World Cup.
With those positions occupied, then, Chelsea dynamo Ramires can reprise the right-sided shuttling role that he performed so admirably in the Champions League last season in order to fit into our system. The former Benfica and Cruzeiro man will provide our selection with balance and industry from the flank.
Joining him in attacking midfield roles will be Chelsea teammate Oscar and Manchester United's Anderson. Of the duo, Oscar is perhaps more suited to playing from a wider position on the left, leaving powerful playmaker Anderson to take the No. 10 shirt and supply our somewhat makeshift striker.
All is about to be revealed...
There is only one Brazilian to have played in the Premier League that we have not already mentioned and, although not a natural centre-forward, he has played off a target-man on many occasions.
Step forward Southampton's Guly do Prado.
Having spent much of his career in Italy's Serie A, Guly joined Southampton whilst the side were still playing League One football in 2010—initially on a loan-deal.
He would go on to play a significant role in the side's back-to-back promotions and earn himself a new contract ahead of their return to the Premier League.
Following an array of new signings, though, opportunities have been limited this campaign and Guly has been restricted to a string of substitute appearances for Nigel Adkins' side.
For our Brazilian XI, though, he is a starter and will operate in a false nine role, interchanging with midfielders Anderson and Oscar to provide a dynamic, if lightweight attack.
As mentioned, we have already gone through every Brazilian currently playing in the Premier League and, thus far, currently only have three players remaining for our bench—Doni, Gomes and André Santos.
We need to be a little creative, then, to ensure we can at least put out a five-man bench to accommodate any injuries our side may sustain. And, with Lucas, Fábio and Anderson in our side, the chance of injury is fairly substantial.
There are, of course, two other Brazilians already contracted to Premier League clubs that we can utilise—Chelsea's Lucas Piazon, who I have not included as he is yet to make his league debut, and Arsenal-owned Denilson. Both players can take their places among our substitutes and offer some cover in midfield areas.
Chelsea, who thus far have supplied three members of our starting lineup and as well as a replacement, offer another option also. For defensive cover we can also include right-back Wallace of Fluminense who will join the Blues next summer, taking our numbers up to a possible six.
The only thing we lack, unsurprisingly, is a striker. Once more we come up short in that department and the likes of Fernandinho, Willian and Paulinho who are linked in January will help little in that respect.
Until Manchester United come good on their option to buy young star Bruno Gomes, it seems Guly and Lucas Piazon will be forced to offer our side a makeshift striking presence.
Now, with all that sorted, we just need a name for our very own, very special Seleção...