Paulo Henrique Ganso: Simply the Best Midfileder In the World

Sammy BalContributor IIMay 7, 2010

He hails from the Amazon rainforests of northern Brazil. He plies his trade in the bustling metropolis of São Paulo. If you still haven't heard of him then take note of his name—this kid is raising eyebrows in Brazil and throughout the world.

Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima or just Ganso (goose), as he is popularly known, has amassed a huge celebrity fan base in Brazil. Everybody who is somebody in the football world agrees that he must be on Dunga's May 11 Seleção list.

All the big names from Zico and Romario to Rivellino and Pele agree that the lad has that special touch, putting him in a whole other category.

His ability to slow a game down to his pace and literally hide the ball reminds us of the master Riquelme, but he's tall and strong as well so perhaps he's more like a Zidane. His dribbling skills and precision passes, though, perhaps make him a new Kaka.

The truth is that he is simply none of the above or indeed all of the above.

He is Ganso.

At the beginning of the season the call was for him to be on Brazil's 23 man squad as an eventual substitute for Kaka should anything go wrong with the Real Madrid playmaker.

However, with the passing of each spectacular performance some, like 1970 world champion Tostão, have called for Ganso to be part of any starting 11 for Brazil in South Africa, either playing alongside Kaka or indeed replacing the European based idol.

Sócrates, who himself was part of the 1982 Brazilian squad often hailed as the greatest football team ever, has taken his admiration even a step further.

In the opinion of this football idol, "Ganso is the greatest revelation Brazil has produced in the last decade, if Santos can hold on to Ganso they will have a monster team until he stops playing. They can sell the whole team, but keep him cause he makes the team play."

It is not just his fantastic football skills which led to Socrates' shocking statements, but also the personality and creativity Ganso has shown in key matches.

More specifically was Ganso's unorthodox play during the State Championship final versus Santo Andre where Santos lost 2-3, with eight players left on the field because of too many bookings, but won the title.

"What he did out there on Sunday represents the personality of the lad. He's the one who won the Championship.

"The second half was worth the title and he played alone, because he didn't have anyone else to play with. He invented stuff out there with extreme creativity and put a halt to a huge coaching error. He ran the clock down and almost scored from the middle of the pitch. That was about all that was missing", said Sócrates.

Indeed a goal from the middle of the pitch would have crowned Ganso's stellar performance in the Paulista Championship. He did everything in the second half of that match.

One particularly peculiar novelty was a corner awarded to Santos with minutes left on the clock.

Santos were down to eight men so Ganso simply touched the ball a few inches into play and stood there as time seemed to stand still before the Santo Andre players, the referee, the fans, and even the television commentators realized that the ball was actually in play.

He has the nerves of steel under pressure, the kind of maturity demanded to wear the five star Brazilian uniform, and the kind of maturity needed to win a world cup.