10 Most Exciting Young Talents in Brazil
It seems the word "exciting" is frequently used when talking about emerging Brazilian talent, and for good reason, so it is not hard to pick 10 young players who fit that description.
Brazilian domestic football is flush with interesting prospects, and here we name a handful of those footballers who are likely to become well-known to an international audience in the near future.
The top 10 has been chosen from a variety of clubs, with an emphasis on players who are not just on the rise, but who also have something of a "wow" factor to draw in the crowds.
10. Mayke (Cruzeiro)
Following in the footsteps of Cafu, Maicon and Dani Alves, Mayke is a right-back who doesn't like to limit his participation in matches solely to defending.
Frequently seen jetting down the right flank to help out in attack, the 21-year-old has all the tools to knock on the door of the senior national team in the future.
9. Lucas Evangelista (Sao Paulo)
A starlet who is only just emerging above the horizon, 18-year-old Lucas Evangelista is one of Sao Paolo's next generation of attacking midfielders.
Though he has only made 20 appearances in his short career so far, he has shown enough to draw comparisons to another promising Sao Paolo produce, Lucas Moura.
Lucas is capable of producing moments of magic with his flick passes and dribbles, but he is willing to track back to defend as well.
8. Marlone (Cruzeiro)
Fair-haired left winger Marlone has a gangly, awkward style that makes him very difficult to tackle.
He also has the skill set you would expect from a top-class wide man, including pace and a deft touch on the ball.
The 21-year-old has just transferred to Cruzeiro after an impressive first season with Vasco da Gama, where he scored three goals and made four assists.
7. Alex Telles
In the left-back role, there are few more promising up-and-comers in Brazil than Alex Telles of Gremio.
Paulo Freitas, a Brazilian football expert who works as a correspondent for Sky Sports, had this to say to us about the 21-year-old:
Alex Telles is an attacking left-back who plays for Grêmio and is close to joining Galatasaray.
He has good technique and crossing and is good at taking set pieces but his passing leaves a bit to be desired.
He was widely regarded in Brazil as the best player in his position last year.
6. Gabriel (Santos)
The baby of our list, Gabriel of Santos is just 17 years old but has already played 11 times in the Brasileirao Serie A.
Diminutive in stature and twinkle-toed, he has earned the nickname "Gabigol" due to his exploits at underage levels.
Bursting with confidence and flair, he promises to offer plenty of entertainment over the course of his career.
5. Otavio (Internacional)
An attacking midfielder capable of playmaking through the center or drifting in from either flank, Otavio enjoyed a fruitful first season with Internacional, scoring five goals and creating an abundance of chances for his teammates.
The ball appears stuck to this 18-year-old's feet when he decides to take on defenders, meaning he is able to twist and turn out of trouble to open up space for those around him.
4. Vinicius Araujo (Cruzeiro)
Top scorer with three goals at the 2013 Toulon Tournament for U-20 sides, Vinicius Araujo is clearly a bright prospect despite only having made a handful of appearances thus far for club side Cruzeiro.
The 20-year-old has remarkable dribbling abilities that mesh well with his tenacity and natural attacking instincts.
Araujo is a dynamo who can play anywhere across the front line. He's certainly fun to watch as well.
3. Leandro (Palmeiras)
Currently on loan at Palmeiras, Gremio-owned Leandro is notable for his direct attacking style and superb balance when running with the ball at speed.
The 20-year-old has 20 goals in 30 games since making the loan move and is beginning to add a cutting edge to his array of skills.
Paulo Freitas believes he is a player on the rise. Here's what he told us:
Leandro is a striker and can play as a winger too.
He has good speed and technique, and since joining Palmeiras, he has improved his finishing, and even scored for Brazil's national team in a friendly against Bolivia.
2. Doria (Botafogo)
Brazil has produced some wonderful center-backs over the years, and Botafogo teenager Doria may well be the country's next great defender.
Though stocky and powerful, the 19-year-old does not rely on physicality alone to thwart opposition attacks.
He shows a canny understanding of the game that belies his tender years and has already been capped once for the Selecao.
Doria's distribution out from the back and ball control are also of a high standard, meaning he could become a truly outstanding defensive linchpin as he develops over the next few years.
1. Marcelo (Atletico Paranaense)
A prime example of why statistics should not always be used to calculate a footballer's worth, Marcelo of Atletico Paranaense is an explosive talent who is destined for big things.
For an attacker, he might not score a lot of goals, but he uses his galloping running style and impressive physical attributes to elude defenders and create chances for teammates, most commonly from a position on the right.
Paulo Freitas had this to say to us about the 21-year-old:
Marcelo is a forward who has good speed, technique and dribbling skills, but he is not a prolific goalscorer.
I think he has the potential to play for the national team in future but still needs to prove himself at a bigger club.