6 Brazilians Set to Rule the Future Footballing World
It's almost 17 months since the last major footballing showpiece held in South Africa, and already the world's attention is focused on the next destination, Brazil.
Brazilians might have not invented the beautiful game, but they have indeed perfected the art. It's what they live and die for; football is a religion and has its followers all over the globe.
In addition to the beautiful landscapes, colorful traditions and unique blend of foods, Brazil will attract hundreds of thousands to watch the men in yellow and green lift the trophy on home soil.
For many, they say the current crop has not yet matured into anything championship-worthy, and with one eye on Spain, that statement may be true.
But, in time, this Brazilian team can harness its talent and ability, and most importantly, its abundance of youth and energy, to relive the country's glory days.
Let's take a quick preview of six players who could rule the football world over the next five-plus years.
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Full Name: Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima
Current Club: Santos FC (Brazil)
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Known more commonly as Ganso, he has been the key to Santos' success over the last couple seasons, having joined the club in 2005.
Ganso is a strong gifted midfielder who enjoys attacking opposing teams.
There's no doubt that he will eventually make the move away from Brazil to one of Europe's top clubs—the Italians are the favorite, as Ganso has made clear his dreams of playing in Serie A on a number of occasions.
Although, he might come at a huge price tag with a release clause of €50 million.
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Full Name: Alexandre Rodrigues da Silva
Current Club: AC Milan (Italy)
Interested Clubs: None currently
A regular scorer in the Serie A, he is known for his speed and quick movement, with the fifth-fastest goal in the Champions League (on September 13th of this year, against FC Barcelona).
Pato has failed to impress in some instances, but the quality is there for all to see. With a little more maturity, he will become a major threat.
Having joined Milan at the age of 18, he still has time to grow and learn. He has already participated in major competitions, and that experience can only be a positive on his resume.
Full Name: Lucas Rodrigues Moura da Silva
Current Club: São Paulo (Brazil)
Interested Clubs: Manchester United, PSG, Bayern Munich
Position: Attacking Midfielder / Winger
Another player who has already made an impact, he is a regular in the U-20 squad and has been called to the national team for two friendlies, impressing on both occasions.
He's called Lucas Moura so as not to be confused with Lucas Leiva of Liverpool, and he is listed amongst FIFA's players to watch.
According to his agent, Manchester United have approached him regarding a possible move to the Premier League, although these reports were squashed by United.
But, Sao Paulo are said to be interested in nothing less than £70 million for the teenager—something only Manchester City or Real Madrid could afford, or maybe even PSG after being taken over by Qataris.
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Full Name: Luiz Marcelo Morais Hamlyn dos Reis
Current Club: Corinthians (Brazil)—on loan to Esporte Clube Bahia
Interested Clubs: Chelsea
Position: Striker / Center Forward
Many see Lulinha as a failure already at the age of 21, having been talked about in footballing circles so much that his form fell below par, branding him a "decent player."
And, we all know very well that in Brazil, "decent" doesn't cut it.
At the International level, he scored 15 goals in 10 appearances for the U-17 squad, but hasn't been called up since.
Chelsea were amongst the clubs interested in his services and could still chase for his signature with the club looking to rebuild.
But, Corinthians' boss has made it clear that the club won't allow the youngster to leave for just a few million.
"To take him off Corinthians, the interested club would have to pay €35 million (£24 million), and the player has 25 percent of his rights," Corinthian president Andres Sanchez told Sky Sports.
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Full Name: Leandro Damião da Silva dos Santos
Current Club: Internacional (Brazil)
Interested Clubs: Tottenham Hotspurs, Inter Milano, FC Barcelona. Arsenal, Roma
Another chased after Brazilian youngster with lots of promise, Leandro has already impacted some of Europe's big clubs with Italian giants Inter very interested as they look to revive the squad following a disappointing start to the 2011/2012 campaign.
Spurs are another team looking to splash around £16 Million on the striker, with an initial £12 Million already rejected by Internacional.
Apart from Spurs and Inter their are a number of other interested parties the biggest been FC Barcelona, and they would be favorites if they serious on landing Damaio.
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Full Name: Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
Current Club: Santos FC (Brazil)
Interested Clubs: FC Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, PSG
At 19 years old, Neymar has already wowed the world with his ability and quality of play. Right now, he is the hottest thing on the market.
For many, the 2014 World Cup lies in his hands, and he could be the closest thing to Pele. A bold statement, yes, but having watched him play, his speed and goal scoring record speak for themselves.
Many see a move to Europe as the wrong decision, especially with the World Cup being held on home soil.
But, with so much interest, it seems he could very well be on his way out—and pretty soon, with reports suggesting Real Madrid have agreed to a deal in the region of £53 million.
Whether its the hairdo, the attitude or simply the quality on the field, Neymar has the full package, and he will undoubtedly be amongst the best in the world very, very soon.
Neymar is also one of 23 players nominated for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award in 2011.
With the battle for the best between Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi already heating up as seasons go along, it could become a three-way contest very soon.