Brazilian footballers and the EPL: the good, the bad and the maybes
As Euro 2012 winds down to it's final stages (you can still get great Euro 2012 betting odds), here at Sambafoot.com we're looking ahead to the European summer transfer season and the inevitable attention it brings to Brazilian footballers in Europe and around the world. Here's a look at Brazilian footballers and how they've performed in the English Premier League</a> as compared to other European leagues.
The Brazil national team is the most widely recognizable and iconic football team on the planet, with the South American country producing an endless supply of superstars. However, with the Brasileiro not living up to the standards of some of Europe’s top leagues, a wealth of Brazilian talent has graced European shores over the years, with the Premier League having its fair share of top players.
Looking back over the years it seems that most of Brazil’s leading lights opt for Italy or Spain when moving to Europe, with the most notable examples being Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Romario etc. However, two of the most memorable Brazilian players to play in the Premier League ended up in the unlikely destination of Middlesbrough. Juninho and Emerson delighted the Wearside faithful during the 1990’s, with the diminutive playmaker actually returning to the club on three occasions.
A number of the current Selecao squad ply their club football in England, with others being targeted by Premier League clubs. One of the most influential is Lucas Leiva, whose importance for club and country has increased in the last 18 months. The ex-Gremio midfielder was widely criticised when he first moved to Anfield, but his work-rate, range of passing and determination has won the Kop over, and forced his way into Mano Menezes’ starting line-up; Liverpool’s dip in form coincided with Lucas’ knee injury.
Ramires is another who has grown in stature, with the former Benfica man an integral element in Chelsea’s Champions League-winning contingent. Anderson is a solid squad player at Manchester United, with his performances ranging from extraordinary to mediocre. Finally, Sandro has proved as a tireless and able holding midfielder for Tottenham, and as such is a constant feature in the Brazil national side.
It has not been all good from Brazilians in the Premier League though, with a raft of players not making an impact or struggling to adjust to the climate and style of play in England. David Luiz is one still to win over the Stamford Bridge faithful, with erratic displays not convincing Chelsea fans to fully trust him as yet. Heurelho Gomes spent the 2011-12 season on the Spurs bench after one too many a calamity, whilst Denilson has been frozen out at north London rivals Arsenal. Brothers Fabio and Rafael have had varying levels of success at Old Trafford, but the Brazilian full-backs spent the majority of last term watching on from the sidelines.
Can we expect to see any other Brazilian stars in the Premier League in the upcoming 2012-13 season? One name widely being linked with a move to England is Porto’s forward Hulk, with Chelsea looking to splash the cash on the burly frontman as Didier Drogba’s replacement. Another Brazilian ready to star at Stamford Bridge is Lucas Piazon, who moved to England from Sao Paulo and is being likened to Real Madrid star Kaka. Tottenham have courted with Internacional’s Leandro Damiao, whilst Chelsea have Lucas Moura and Neymar on their radars also.