Brazil, The Football factory
There are an estimated 10,000 Brazilian footballers all around the world playing professional football. You could argue that the whole country is one very big football factory. But what has set Brazil apart in the minds of most football fans around the world is that the kids from the wrong sides of the tracks tend to play for the love of the beautiful game – honing their skills to perfection of the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro – and all along the coastline near to major cities.
Of course, there was only ever some truth in this slightly clichéd view of the development of the game in the country – but now, there’s a real football factory churning out the country’s most talented footballers to professional clubs all around the world. And it is, in itself, an established football club.
It is officially called “Desportivo Brasil Participações” though is more usually referred to simply as Desportivo Brasil – and it’s a club in its own right located in Porto Feliz, in São Paulo state. But its sole purpose is to develop young players who it will sell on to the world’s major clubs – clubs like Manchester United with whom Desportivo have a formal, established relationship.
Desportivo was formed back in 2005 with the aim of becoming the country’s main academy in developing young players from 14 and up.
The BBC recently featured one of Desportivo’s young players in the shape of Bruno Gomes, a 17-year old striker probably bound for Manchester United, though Real Madrid, Sao Paulo and Udinese are also interested.
Desportivo is owned by Traffic Ltd., one of South America’s biggest sports marketing companies and has agreements in place with various players and different major clubs. But this is a business like any other and the youngsters don’t come cheaply. So if you support anyone outside the really big names of world football, then you’d probably have to land the biggest lottery prize out there to have a hope. That probably means having a dabble on the next Euro Millions Lottery and keeping your fingers firmly crossed when finding the Euromillions draw results online. Alternatively, train your son to become a professional as good as the kids at Desportivo.